Residents across South West join the Sugar Smart September challenge

Posted on: 30 August 2017

Local Sugar Smart teams across the South West are encouraging people to attempt the Sugar Smart September challenge and are providing support and tips throughout the month.

Sugar Smart September is a challenge to reduce ‘free sugar’ in our diets for the month of September.

People can choose from four options for the challenge, from completely cutting out free sugar from their diet for the whole month, to trying to keep intake of free sugar to below the recommended seven teaspoons per day.

“Free” sugar is any sugar that is added to foods at home or by the producer, plus sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. It does not include sugar naturally present in milk or whole fruit and vegetables.

People are already signing up to begin the challenge from 1 September on the Facebook event led by @SugarSmartEX

Some workplaces are also joining the initiative and taking on the challenge in their teams.  Members of Devon County Council’s Public Health team attempted the challenge in 2016 and have pledged to join again this September.

Martin White, a participant in the challenge last year said:

“I took part in the Sugar Smart September Challenge in 2016, and I’m so glad that I did.  My dental records bear testament to my ‘sugar addiction’ from a very early age.

“I knew that too much was not good for me and I already cut down quite a bit from when I ate confectionary every day, but I still loved to eat it more often than not – home baked cakes daily and bars of chocolate, usually while watching TV in the evenings.”

Having opted for the now termed ‘No Spoons’ option, Martin gave up added sugar for the whole month.

He said on the benefits he felt: 

Gradually as I got into the second week I noticed some changes. The craving wasn’t so strong – in fact I found other things to do. My head was clearer and I found that I was able to concentrate for longer at key points in the day, especially in the early afternoon. I woke up in the morning feeling slightly brighter, ready for breakfast and then again later on I was ready for my evening meal; my digestive system was more settled.

“In summary my body was starting to get used to going without its regular ‘sugar rush’ and I had started to feel the benefits of going without what I originally thought of as a treat. By the end of the month I had lost half a stone, without trying.”

As a result, Martin has continued to challenge himself throughout the year:

“I felt so good about having lost a bit of weight and feeling clearer headed that I went sugar free in November and then again in February. I think it has helped me break the cycle of always having cake and chocolate as a treat. I’m doing it again this September just to prove to myself that I can choose when to eat sugar.

“I also had the insight that it felt as if sugar was compulsory. It’s everywhere, even where you don’t expect it to be. Just read the labels on the packaging.

The Sugar Smart campaign in Devon is designed to encourage organisations to take Sugar Smart actions to make the healthy choice the easy choice.  These can be relatively small steps, such as introducing healthier food options, removing sugary drinks from sale or promoting Sugar Smart messages

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Posted in: DCC Homepage | Health and Wellbeing