Acting as a reminder that refined sugar is simply not good for people, National No Sugar Day is here to offer people encouragement to cut back on the amount of added sugars they eat. It is also an opportunity to offer healthy alternatives to the average Western diet that has been increasing in sugar content for many decades.
History of National No Sugar Day
The discovery of sugar and the processes that can be used to refine and crystallize it date back many hundreds, or even thousands, of years. However, it took many years for sugar to take the place in society that it has today. It wasn’t until the 15th century that sugar gradually entered into the marketplace as an item sought out by urban consumers.
Sadly, the history of the demand for sugar includes gruesome tales of the slave industry and trade, with two-thirds of the Africans who were kidnapped ending up on sugar plantations with the worst conditions. And by the 1860s, half of the world’s sugar was still produced by people who were enslaved, and sugar rapidly became the world’s most traded commodity.
But, though popular, refined sugar was found to not only be bad for the many enslaved people who were producing it but it was soon realized that refined sugar was also hard on the bodies of those who ate lots of it. At the same time when sugar was the most traded commodity, the world’s first book was written in Britain on the topic of maintaining a no sugar, low carbohydrate diet.
By the early 20th century, the US government had gotten involved and, through subsidies, facilitated overproduction that led to low prices and even more refined sugar being eaten by Americans – even though it was known by then to be unhealthy. Now, the modern diet for Americans includes an average of more than 60 pounds of sugar consumed by an individual every year, which is 2-3 times the recommended amount for men and women, and even worse for children.
National No Sugar Day was founded in 2022 by the No Sugar Company with the purpose of improving the lives and health of individuals, families and communities. The day is celebrated in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as the American Heart Association, which encourages the reduction of the use of refined sugar for a healthier heart and overall lifestyle.
Even those who aren’t interested in cutting out sugar from their diets completely can still celebrate National No Sugar Day by paying attention and cutting back on refined or added sugars!
National No Sugar Day Timeline
The Sugarcane plant is domesticated
Historians believe that the sugarcane plant was first domesticated in the New Guinea region.
Sugar is crystallized
People from India are the first to develop a process to make sugar into crystals.
World’s first no sugar diet is published
William Banting from Britain offers the first low-carb, no sugar diet – losing over 50 pounds himself and encouraging others to try it.
National No Sugar Day is launched
The No Sugar Company celebrates the inaugural National No Sugar Day.
How to Celebrate National No Sugar Day
Take a look at some of these healthful and beneficial ways to celebrate and engage with activities for National No Sugar Day:
Learn the Benefits of No Sugar
If information on health is a motivator, then celebrating National No Sugar Day might include getting more informed and knowledgeable about the ways that too much sugar on a regular basis tends to hijack a person’s health. In honor of this day, consider some of the impacts that added sugar can make on the body and learn more about the benefits of leading a no sugar or low-sugar lifestyle:
Reducing added sugar can help manage weight as diets high in added sugar are linked to obesity and belly fat.
A no sugar lifestyle can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as studies have shown people who drink a lot of sweetened beverages may be at a higher risk of insulin resistance or Type II diabetes.
Added sugar is linked both directly and indirectly to heart disease, so cutting back can help to improve heart health, lower triglycerides and keep blood pressure under control.
Try Out a No Sugar Day
Some people get drastic in a rampage to cut out sugar cold-turkey and this can often backfire. No Sugar Day is a good reminder that making any lifestyle change – including reducing refined sugars in the diet – are often more effective when they happen slowly, by building good habits that come one day at a time. While it’s not necessary to eliminate added sugar intake completely, it’s a good way to begin.
So, get started with participating in National No Sugar Day by trying to go just one day without eating refined sugars. Substitute that piece of cake for a piece of healthier fruit with natural sugars. Exchange that sugary soda for a sugar free bubbly water that has a gentle flavor. Drink coffee or tea with honey instead of that spoonful of sugar. Then, if it goes well, try implementing these simple switch principles for another day…and then another day.
The No Sugar Company sponsors the day and offers online resources for those who are interested in participating with their toolkits.
Also, remember that habits that are implemented with a friend for accountability may be more likely to stick, so grab a friend or partner and try celebrating this day together to see how it goes!
Note the Side Effects of No Sugar
While it might be extreme to consider sugar a “drug” exactly, there are many people who claim addictive experiences. Removing sugar from the diet all at once can have some side effects or experiences that it’s important to be prepared for. So when heading into a season of cutting out sugar, whether for National No Sugar Day or some other reason, be sure to stay educated on what to expect. Consider these possibilities for withdrawal-like symptoms when cutting out sugar:
If sugar is a primary energy source, then cutting it out completely can make a person feel very tired and drained.
In the short term, giving up sugar may also affect the mood for some people, since sugar can be a trigger for the release of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine.
Some people who cut out sugar quickly may experience headaches or light-headedness.
Host a National No Sugar Day Campaign
Interested in promoting a healthier lifestyle at work or at school? Try engaging with a National No Sugar Day campaign to educate, inform and encourage folks who are interested in taking some small steps in the right direction. This can also be done online through social media campaigns.
National No Sugar Day FAQs
What foods have no sugar?
Compared to fruits, most vegetables have very little sugar.
What alcohol has no sugar?
Pure forms of alcohol that are sugar free include straight vodka, run, whiskey, gin and tequila.
What to eat on a no sugar diet?
No sugar diets can include many vegetables, proteins such as meat or beans, healthy fats like unsweetened yogurt or eggs, and water or no-sugar drinks.
Can you eat fruit on a no sugar diet?
Most ‘no sugar’ diets are concerned about added sugars, not the natural sugars found in fresh fruits, but if the diet is for medical reasons check with a doctor.
What does ‘no added sugar’ mean?
This means that a food may have natural sugars present but there are no additional sugars, sugar alcohols or sugar-containing ingredients used in the process.