If Halloween has you howling for sweets, consider joining our 2nd annual Halloween Group Fast to make navigating the challenging food environments a little less scary. Whether you want to ghost candy entirely, or simply be a master in moderation, this group fast is for you.
How to Join
- Start your timer after your last meal on October 30
- Complete any length fast—whether that means fasting all the way through Halloween to November 1, or breaking the fast in time for a couple of Halloween treats.
- Share your progress on social media using #FastingWithZero
The best part? Everyone who participates can look forward to an in-app treat!
Making healthy choices during a holiday fueled by candy is hard. We hope fasting alongside others can make it a bit easier to avoid getting into a sticky sugar situation. Because unfortunately, we’re wired to crave sugar. The presence of sweetness in foods found in nature signaled to our ancestors that the item was safe to consume. However, our ancestors weren’t grazing in grocery store aisles where 74% of items have added sugars.
Natural vs Added Sugar
When referring to the health risks of sugar, the majority of studies refer to added sugars. These are sugars that are added to a food or beverage during processing. Most commonly, these come in the form of sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, but you can also “add” other forms of sugar to food items, like honey, brown rice syrup, and cane sugar.
Natural sugars, on the other hand, are the same sugars, but they usually come “packaged” in unprocessed foods like whole fruits and vegetables, accompanied by fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So the sugar is still sugar, it just comes with some healthy bonus nutrients. Moderate fructose consumption (emphasis on the moderate!) from these sources in most healthy people is likely fine and does not have the same negative health effects that added sugars do.
How Much Sugar is too Much?
Average American Consumption
The average American consumes about 17 tsp (~71 grams) of added sugar per day. By most estimates, that’s way too much. To put that into perspective, one 12 oz. soda has about 11 tsp of added sugar. Americans get 13-14% of their total daily caloric intake from added sugars. The statistics are worse for kids and teens: 16% of their diets are added sugars.
Government Intake Recommendations
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp (~25 grams) of added sugar per day for women, no more than 9 tsp (~38 grams) for men. That’s 8-11tsp less than the national average. The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that no more than 10% of your total daily calories come from added sugars. So, if you are consuming a 2000 kcal diet, then 200 kcal or ~12 tsp of added sugar would be the recommended limit.
It’s important to realize that sugar impacts those who are healthy differently than those who already have a chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, obesity or metabolic syndrome.
In addition, Americans continue to gain weight and metabolic disease is still on the rise, so it’s logical to wonder whether current dietary recommendations are appropriate, or whether we need even stricter guidelines.
Don’t be Scared
Sure, we all know sugar (especially in excessive amounts) isn’t great for us. But moderation and restriction are the tools you need to stay on track. Join the 2nd annual Halloween Group Fast, and know you’re not alone in treating yourself to whole body health.