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Preparing for a week without added sugars of any kind

March 6, 2009

A few days ago I got a surprise package in the mail!

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The ever sweet and generous Rhodey Girl sent me a couple of Larabars to try- my first ever! Of course, I ripped open the cashew cookie bar immediately to try it. I am very particular about eating foods with nuts in them, but this bar was delicious. Nice and chewy and with a grand total of 2 ingredients: cashews and dates. This bar was also incredibly filling and it keeps its freshness if you want to save half of the bar for a snack later in the day. I would absolutely have it again.

I am saving the other bar, Pecan Pie (dates, pecans, almonds) for next week’s no-added-sugars challenge if I need a fall-back. I know that a lot of people out there love to eat bars as a quick way to fuel up midday, and Larabars are fantastic for that purpose. These energy-boosters are free of added sugars and incredibly healthy; they’re full of healthy fats, fiber, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and also contain a decent amount of protein. If you are a bar person, buy these rather than any other bar. And with ingredients as simple as this, you can even make your own at home!

What else will I be relying on? We’re back to the basics with really simple ingredients. But that does not mean that the meal plan will be boring! I fully intend to eat a diverse and balanced diet with tastiness in every mouthful. I have a few ideas that I am looking forward to trying and will be digging out some of my favorite cookbooks to assist me. My apple banana bread, rosemary crackers, and whole wheat tortillas will all be perfect for this challenge, too, for when I need a grain fix in sandwich form or for the crunch factor.

Print out this page which lists 100 different names for sugar and take it to the grocery store this weekend when you stock up on added-sugar-free foods! If you have any great recipes, leave them in the comments and I’ll link back to them once the challenge begins.

Remember:

- We like natural sugars. It’s the added sugars we’re avoiding for the week. Stock up on the fruit; bypass the yogurt sweetened with sugar.

- Sugar (white/brown/cane etc), honey, molasses, stevia, agave, syrup, evaporated cane juice, aspartame, and Splenda all count as added sugars.

- There are added sugars in a shockingly high amount of the foods we eat, even if you do not eat very much in the way of processed foods. Bag Lady explained in our last post that sugar is added in breads because it’s necessary for the chemical reaction to occur with yeast. Check the ingredients list in everything you eat, be it bread, a condiment, meat (especially with pre-cooked food like ham) or even a spice. There are all kinds of unusual ingredients lurking everywhere. Never assume that you know what’s in the food you’re eating- read the ingredients list first.

- Just because the nutrition facts table says there are 0 sugars in the food doesn’t mean that there are really 0 sugars in the food. In Canada, if there is less than 0.5g of sugar per serving in the food product, then the manufacturers are allowed to outright lie and state on the nutrition facts table that there is 0g of sugar. Read the ingredients list; it is far more honest than the nutrition facts table.

Have a wonderful weekend and let us all know what kinds of food you find or have recently found which would be useful in this challenge! Our challenge will kick off on Sunday.

If you’re interested in learning about some fitness while you cut back on sugar, Kelly from Every Gym’s Nightmare was kind enough to grant me an interview with her advice as a personal trainer- you can read all about it in my article, How to get the most out of your workout!

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18 comments

  1. I’m so NOT a bar person, in fact, I just thought of them as a protein packed excuse for not cooking, so I’ve never picked one up let alone read the ingredients (Presumptuous much? I know) But thanks for this insight on Larabars! I may have to venture over to the Whole Foods in London and track some of these down..dates? mmmmm nuts? mmmm I’m in!

    Have a great weekend Sagan!!
    ~rupal


  2. Hell yes for Larabars; and check out my latest post, please, about PURE bars!! :-)


  3. I want to try that kind of Larabar SO badly! It seems to be a lot of people’s favorite. Is it sweet, would you say? Mmmm, and the Pecan bar sounds like heaven!


  4. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your week without added sugar! It sounds as though you are preparing well.

    Thanks for the link!


  5. I’ll definitely be reading about your “no added sugar” list. It’s too intense for me (I need stevia in my coffee and whatever other sweetness that doesn’t count as “sweets” right now: I’ve been craving a chocolate glazed donut (from Dunkin Donuts only, I’m brand loyal) for a week and a half (won’t get one until April).

    Sorry I had to vent (and mention donuts).


  6. Yay for no added sugars!

    I recently tried my first Larabar too.. WHILE I was running my half (not a good idea!).

    Can’t wait to hear more :) Have a great weekend!


  7. “Read the ingredients list; it is far more honest than the nutrition facts table.” So true! Drives me crazy that manufacturers are allowed to round down.


  8. Wow. I was contemplating doing a no added sugar week when I started reading the post, and then I started thinking about all the things I put sugar in, or that already contain added sugar that I eat. I don’t think I could do it! Good Luck!


  9. Thanks so much for sharing such great information! Love the ingredient list in that bar, plain, simple, and short!=)


  10. Thanks for the 100 different names of sugar! I love Larabars, (coconut, peanut butter and key lime pie are my favorites). I buy small sample size bars and give them away in my workshops. I think they are great on-the-go-healthy-bars,and I like to let people know about them.

    So excited you’re doing the no sugar added challenge! I look forward to your progress reports next week. Have a great weekend.


  11. Rupal- I COMPLETELY agree, I don’t ever get bars. But Larabars are fantastic; super nutritious!

    VeggieGirl- Still having difficulties with your videos, hmph. I will have to find a way to remedy that. I want more VeggieGirl!

    Holly- sweet, yes, in a good way. Not too overpowering.

    Bag Lady & Ashley- the preparation is so much fun :)

    Tricia- You KNOW that venting is always invited and encouraged around here ;) Good luck with the donut cravings!

    Cathy & Sharon- manufacturers really piss me off sometimes… the fewer the ingredients, usually the better.

    Meg- on the other hand, its only ONE week in the grand scheme of things :) But agreed, the concept can be daunting.

    Jolene- aw those sample sizes must be so cute!


  12. Have a fantastic weekend!


  13. You’ve done some great research. Can’t wait for the challenge!!


  14. I love Larabars. They are some of the best ones out there. I am also a big fan of Attune Probiotic bars. Have you ever tried those?


  15. good luck!!


  16. bleh- i dont like lara bars. the texture freaks me out. that was so sweet of her to send you those.

    and thank you for interviewing me!

    Kelly Turner
    http://www.everygymsnightmare.com


  17. Mark- ditto!

    Maggie & ttfn300- thanks :)

    Jamie- I haven’t tried those bars (I’m not much of a bar person at all), but they look interesting. Mmm chocolate coating.


  18. thanks for the shoutout dear!



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