Health & Fitness

10 Easy Tips on Cutting Sugar in Your Diet

10 Easy Tips on Cutting Sugar in Your Diet

10 Easy Tips on Cutting Sugar in Your Diet

Photo Compliments of danaspencer

You may have removed the Oreos from your desk drawer at work and you switched to diet drinks, sadly that doesn’t mean you’re making progress in cutting sugar in your diet.

Sugar is added to foods that don’t even taste all that sweet, like breads, condiments, and sauces. This all adds up quickly: although the American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day (or about 100 calories), most of us take in double that, if not more. (I’m talking about added sugar, not the naturally occurring sugars you find in dairy and fruit.)

Photo Compliments of Sarah R

Photo Compliments of Sarah R

A high-sugar diet boosts your odds of tooth decay, heart disease, and diabetes, not to mention weight gain. You can slash your sugar intake with 10 simple steps.

The 10 Easy Tips

Read Food Labels

It is a shocker for me how often sugar is added to foods when you look for it on ingredients lists. When the quality of ingredients is poor the cheaters way of boosting flavor is to add copious amounts of sugar or salt. “Even things that you don’t think are sweet, like tomato sauce, crackers, condiments, and salad dressings can be packed with sugar”. The fight in children’s cereals is to see that sugar is not the number 1 (the prime ingredient) in those products…. Ingredients are listed in order of how much exists in the product, so if you see sugar near the top you have your red flag.

10 Easy Tips on Cutting Sugar in Your Diet

Photo Compliments of Larry

Sugar Can Come In Several Forms

When you read food look for names like: high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (any word ending in “-ose”), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. The surprise is you will find these even in seemingly healthy products like yogurt and cereal. You may find they contain three or four different types of sweeteners.

Buy Food Products That Are Unsweetened

Look for food labels that tell you there is “no added sugar” or “unsweetened.” You’ll find unsweetened versions of most common foods in your grocery store: non-dairy milk like almond and soy, nut butters (look for those made with only nuts and salt), applesauce, oatmeal, and canned fruit (they should be packed in juice and not syrup).

Don’t Try To Eliminate Sugar in One Big Step

Doing this all in one big step isn’t realistic for most people. Cut back in increments. If you typically put two packets of sugar in your coffee, try one for a week, then half, and finally add only a splash of milk. For your yogurt, mix half a serving of sweetened yogurt with half a serving of plain, and eventually move on to adding natural sweetness with fresh fruit…The surprise for me was when I did this I actually started to taste the fruit and enjoyed it much more.

Think Protein and Fat

Unhealthy carbs loaded with sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar. This is a real struggle with those who deal with Type 2 Diabetes. To minimize spikes you can pair protein wit healthy fats and fiber with your meal. All of these will slow down the release of blood sugar in your body and keep you feeling full longer. Try adding almonds to your usual oatmeal or pairing eggs with your morning, whole grain, and toast. A midday snack might include a slice of turkey breast or cheese along with an apple. Fats are a key player because they help keep you fuller for longer, thus helping to decrease your desire for sugar. Focus on fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils like olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil.

Using Sugar Alternatives Is a Mistake

When you’re reducing your sugar intake, you may be tempted to switch to artificial sugars for your sweet fix; resist reaching for the diet soda, sugar-free candy, and packets of fake sugar in your latte. Fake sugars are associated with weight gain, not weight loss.

Look For Things That Add More Flavor to Your Diet

Use vanilla bean and vanilla extract, spices, and citrus zests to add sweetness to foods; these items add flavor and not calories. Order an unsweetened latte and add flavor with cocoa or vanilla powder. Add sweetness to oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.

Don’t Drink It: Avoid Soda

Avoiding soda is a great idea. Even health drinks can contain more of the sweet stuff than you’re supposed to have in an entire day. Enhanced waters can contain up to eight teaspoons of sugar per bottle, bottled iced teas can contain more than nine teaspoons per bottle, energy drinks can contain around seven teaspoons per can, bottled coffee drinks may hit you with eight teaspoons per bottle, and smoothies you buy in the store more than a dozen teaspoons.

Enjoy Your Dessert

The idea is to avoid wasting your daily sugar quota on foods like cereals, ketchup, and bread. Set specific rules about when you enjoy dessert and manage portion size.

Stay the Course

Cutting down on sugar may at times feel like an impossible task The surprise is that eventually your taste buds adjust. Super-sweet foods like ice cream and candy will start to taste too sweet. That Snickers bar will make you feel ill. Your tolerance for super sweet declines, now a couple bites will be enough. You’ll actually tease and prefer the natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables.

What You Need To Know About Sugar

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