You may know her as a former host of MTV, Jim Carrey’s girlfriend, staunch advocate for autism awareness, or a Weight Watcher’s spokesperson. Jenny McCarthy, a comedian, actress, author and activist who now regularly sits next to Oprah on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss current events, has launched her Give It Up Before Summer challenge which she chronicles on Oprah.com.
So exactly what is Jenny giving up? Sugar and eating past 7 p.m. And she’s blogging and twittering all about it. As a self-professed sugar addict, Jenny is nixing the sweet stuff just for 30 days and encouraging other readers to give up a vice of their own choice, be it chocolate, gossiping, or coffee and share with others how awesomely well or how devastatingly bad they are sticking to their Give It Up Before Summer challenge.
As an ardent advocate of the Gluten Free, Casein-Free Diet as a way to quell her son’s symptoms of autism, Jenny definitely knows a thing or two about nutrition. But when it comes to sugar, she is just as vulnerable as the rest of us.
Jenny’s blogs about detoxing from sugar are as colorful, comedic and unabashedly honest as her television candor. From providing us with details about how her PMS-induced acne has tempered since giving up sugar and how elated she was after finding fruit juice-sweetened cornflakes at Whole Foods to extolling the praises of agave nectar in green tea, it’s no wonder that both Jim and Oprah are smitten with this dynamo.
So why is it that Americans have such a sugar addiction? Sugar is surprisingly ubiquitous in not just the sweet and obvious sources like soda, juice, candy and sweetened cereals, but it is hidden in our packaged foods. Spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, beef jerky, lunch meats – it’s all over and worse yet, it’s often the second or third ingredient on the label meaning there is a lot of it!
It’s not so much that sugar is bad for you by its own but its the frequency of our consumption of the white stuff especially since half of the time, we don’t even know we’re eating it (sugar in my rigatoni marinara?). Sugar hasn’t been directly linked to obesity, diabetes or heart disease, but a diet high in sugary foods is associated with these weight-related conditions since foods that have lots of sugar are often loaded with calories, empty carbs and fat.
So if you’re like me upon reading about Jenny’s Give It Up Before Summer Challenge, giving up sugar for 30 days has peaked curiousty and offered inspiration. If I do decide to join Jenny and all of her sugar-free, caffeine-free, chocolate-free pals on Oprah.com, you’ll be the first to know.