Are you sweet enough to take up the challenge this September?

Australians challenging themselves to go sugar free this September can have a major impact on the lives of others and not just their waistline.

Whether you want to tame a sweet tooth, need a diet overhaul or another challenge, Sugar Free September is expected to give its participants a run for their money.

The inaugural health and fundraising initiative Sugar Free September is about reducing the processed and refined sugar in your diet, while raising funds and awareness to improve the lives of people living with Muscular Dystrophy. Australians consume an average of 53kg of sugar each year or the equivalent of about 29 teaspoons of sugar (both added and natural) each day with the first ever Sugar Free September already attracting health-conscious participants.

MDNSW chief executive officer Pene Hodge said the timing of the initiative was ideal as many people would be coming out of winter hibernation and starting to improve their health as they prepared themselves for the warmer months. She acknowledges Sugar Free September will be a tough challenge for many and recommended roping in a support network or starting a fundraising page for added accountability.

Ms Hodge said every dollar raised will go towards providing critical support to families affected by Muscular Dystrophy. She said fundraising was the organisation’s main source of income, allowing it to provide their world-first specialised Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, targeted sport and special interest programs, counselling, family retreats and camps for the kids.

“Sugar Free September is about a healthy diet. We’re advocating a natural diet; it’s an initiative that will suit almost anyone interested in improving their health,” she said.

Many processed and packaged foods contain large quantities or sugar.

Participants can register for $45 online, which sets up a personal fundraising page and is donated to Muscular Dystrophy NSW. The organisation hopes Sugar Free September becomes its major annual fundraiser, potentially attracting the same level of attention as Movember and Dry July, which would mean the availability of more services for people who live with Muscular Dystrophy.


Health guru and nutritionist, Dr Joanna McMillian, a MDNSW ambassador, says the initiative is not advocating the removal of all sugar from your diet, but the highly processed and added form that’s hidden in so many everyday items. Dr McMillan said hidden sugars in processed foods meant many people were unaware of how much they’re consuming on a daily basis, compiling a list of products containing the largest amount of added sugar. She recommends removing sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, additional sugar in coffee, tea and cooking, jams, biscuits, lollies, chocolate, desserts and flavoured milk.

High profile personal trainer Shannan Ponton, most recognisable from his work on The Biggest Loser, has also embraced the concept, sharing tips and encouragement to participants.

Don’t let Shannan scare you, you’ve got this.

The challenge starts Tuesday September 1 and finishes midnight, Wednesday September 30. Participants can register for $45, which will be donated to Muscular Dystrophy NSW.

Opt Out – Participants are encouraged to last the whole of September sugar free but sometimes special events mean that’s not always possible. ONE DAY OPT OUT passes are available for a donation of your nominated amount.

Fundraising – Registering automatically sets up a personal fundraising page that can be sent to friends, family and colleagues for support. Participants who raise $150 or more will receive an exclusive Sugar Free September t-shirt.

More information and donations can be made via the Sugar Free September website. For further information on MDNSW, click here.