“Sugarless Wednesday” campaign starts Jan. 4 in Illinois

(Courtesy: American Heart Association)
(Courtesy: American Heart Association)

MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) – In Illinois, the American Heart Association is pushing a “bittersweet” initiative.

They’re asking residents to go “sugarless” on Wednesdays. Now that doesn’t mean sugar free, just lowering your intake.

They suggest nixing sodas and cutting back on sweet desserts and snacks each Wednesday of the week.

News 10 spoke with Dr. Jim Turner of the Cork Medical Center. He says to some people, sugar is just as addictive as crack.

The doctor says most Americans consume double the amount of sugar they’re supposed to each day.

He says sugar intake for a person’s lifetime would shock you!

Turner says, “The way to put that into perspective is if you look at the candy called skittles, it would take one point seven million skittles and that would fill an industrial sized dumpster.”

News 10 reached out to Deana Chrisman as she was doing her weekly shopping.

She says that she used to struggle with sugar consumption.

Chrisman says, “I was a pop drinker. I mean I had to have a pop every day. Every day. And I just thought to myself, ‘You know, I need to stop drinking the pop. I need to cut down on it’ and so I just eventually, little by little, I just cut myself out of it.”

Dr. Turner says that while grocery shopping, be sure to check the label. That’s the best way to know what’s in the food or drinks you’re consuming.

You may be shocked to know that according to the AHA, one 20 oz. soda has more sugar than six glazed donuts, 18 cookies, or two bags of chocolate candy.

While it is no easy feat, cutting down on sugar, even for a few months, could yield some good side effects.

Turner says, “If people get started on a certain diet or certain program just like an exercise program, once you get started and you get in the groove of it and start enjoying it and realizing it was very helpful. Probably within three months you’ll start seeing those results. I think it would be a good idea, a great place to start.”

Chrisman adds that she thinks it would be good for kids to lower their sugar intake too.

She says, “I think it would be a great idea. There’s a lot of kids you know I see taking juice packets to school. I mean if parents could you know, maybe put something else in there so you know, they wouldn’t be drinking juices every day.”

Chrisman reflects on the good things that happened to her after she gave up pop.

She says, “I lost about 20 pounds. So it’s a good way of doing it, and it cleanses your body too, drinking water. It makes you feel good.”

The Sugarless Wednesday campaign starts January 4th, and goes through March 29th.

While it is targeted toward Illinois, anyone can partake!

If you’d like to pledge to go sugarless on Wednesdays, you can do that online by clicking here.