Thanksgiving was the best!!! It truly is such a great time to stop, practice gratitude, enjoy good food with family and friends, and create lasting memories.
And when it comes to the holidays, if I want the pumpkin pie, I go for it. I practice mindful eating and definitely indulge a bit. However, since alot of the holiday foods are full of sugar, Kimberly of Konsciously Klean and Chanel of Fit Fab Well by Chanel and I decided to do a FIVE FRUCTOSE FREE CHALLENGE. Five days. No sugar. STARTING TODAY!
Do you want in? Send me an email at BYOKBlog@gmail.com, it’s not too late to start! It’s free, it comes with a meal plan and grocery list, and you’ll get tips/advice/facts from us each day of the challenge. For more information on the challenge, read about it here.
Since Kimberly Bender is a wealth of knowledge, I wanted to chat with her about the impact of too much sugar in your diet, since she is in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and will be graduating in May with a certificate in Holistic Health. Grab a booch and get ready to learn!
Q: Hi Kim! Can you tell the BYOK readers a bit about yourself?
Kim: Hi everyone! After suffering lots of gut issues (Barrett’s Esophagus and SIBO) I decided to make some drastic lifestyle changes. I’ve transformed my once heavy carb and sugar diet, by crowding out irritants with more nutrient-dense foods. I’ve been able to reverse my chronic acid reflux and heal my body through food, so I’m a firm believer that food is medicine.
I also recently became a Beautycounter consultant. This is a nontoxic makeup and skincare company that is on a mission to get safer products in the hands of everyone. I’ve worked so much to clean out my insides, that I felt it was necessary to do the same on the outside.
Q: WOW! I LOVE when I hear stories about people healing their body through food instead of medicine. Food is such an important part of your lifestyle. SO Let’s jump right in, why is it harmful to have too much sugar in your diet?
Kim: Sugars are carbohydrates composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The two forms most commonly discussed are glucose and fructose. Unlike glucose, fructose is not used as energy and is metabolized predominantly in the liver (glucose is used by our cells for energy). Since fructose is not used as energy, we eat more of it because we’re not getting energy from it. We literally have no off switch for fructose. We do for everything else on the planet, but fructose fails to turn on our appetite hormone, leptin. We can drink 20 ounces of cola and not get full. If you consume that same amount of a #fab4smoothie you will, because the protein and fat signals leptin, which tell our brain we’ve had enough.
Just like carbohydrates, it’s important to understand that not all sugar is created equal. Natural sugars occur in fruits and vegetables. These foods come packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which help reduce the glucose spike. The fiber also signals fullness, so you’re unlikely to overeat. Natural sugars typically increase as the fruit or vegetable ripens. Added sugars are well, added during processing. Examples include: soda, grain-based desserts (cookies, cakes), fruit drinks, dairy desserts, energy drinks, tea, ready-to-eat cereal, yeast bread, syrups, sauces, dips, candy, and high-fructose corn syrup. These foods tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutritional value. They often times do not contain fiber so they are more likely to be consumed in excess. They are considered high-glycemic foods, which cause a sharp spike in blood sugar.
Q: So how does the high blood sugar affect our bodies?
Kim: Added sugar affects the body in a number of ways. First of all, consuming too many added sugars in the diet can lead to insulin resistance which causes an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Secondly, added sugars may increase blood pressure which can then lead to cardiovascular disease. They also cause a risk for Alzheimer’s disease, dental problems, asthma, and disrupt the gut microbiome.
Additionally, sugar is linked to thyroid disease, metabolic disease, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, and overall inflammation.
To sum it up, added and unnatural sugar makes us fat and sick!
Q: What is an allowable amount of sugar in one’s diet?
Kim: According to the American Heart Association, we’re meant to eat about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day (1 teaspoon of sugar is equal to about 4 grams). On average, we’re actually eating about 23 teaspoons a day, which is 152 pounds of sugar a year! We all know that soda and pastries are loaded with sugar. Even though these might not be a part of your diet, the same amount of sugar may be lurking in foods that you do eat.
Q: What an eye opener. How scary that we consume almost 4 times the allowable amount! How do we change our diet and what we eat? What are some sugar free/low in sugar snacks you enjoy?
Some items to consider include: Low fat yogurt (anything low/nonfat), BBQ sauce, ketchup, dried fruit, nut butters, protein/cereal bars, and fruit juice. For example, a glass of apple juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar (more than your suggested daily dose!) which is the same amount as coke. A good rule of thumb is that we should only ever be eating whole fruit (kiwi, grapefruit, and berries are low-glycemic fruits).
I love making protein balls. They are an easy snack and so simple to make! Together I combine: 1 scoop pea protein powder ( I use the Tone it Up vanilla powder), 2 tbsp raw peanut or almond butter, 1 tbsp chia or flax seed, and 1 tsbp (the newbarn) unsweetened almond milk. You can also add 1 scoop Furtherfood collagen peptides (which is great for skin AND the gut!) Roll into balls and store in fridge for up to a week! I also keep almonds and carrots on me at all times!
Q: Those are really good options. Now that we know the issue with sugar, what is the purpose of the 5 days sugar free challenge?
The 5 day fructose free challenge is a great reset for the body. I love the fact that it brings so much awareness to the foods we eat. Sugar is hidden in almost everything and once people understand that, I believe they will change the way they shop for food and feel the need to cook at home a lot more.
Q: So what should participants of our challenge expect during/after the 5 days?
First of all, it’s important to set yourself up for success. I recommend that everyone plan out their week and do as much meal prep as possible before it starts. If your body has never “given up sugar” you might experience withdrawal symptoms. You may experience irritability, fatigue, headaches, or cravings. This is normal and common symptoms of any detox or cleanse. Drink lots of water, get an adequate amount of sleep each night, and have lots of options for snacks on hand. You may find it beneficial to journal about what you’re eating and how you’re feeling each day. At the end of the challenge, you may experience less bloat and more energy which is motivation to continue paying attention to sugar in the diet and limiting it as much as possible!
I don’t know about y’all but I am SO PUMPED / anxious to see the results of this challenge. Leave a comment if you want in!