6 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Sugar
Giving up sugar is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Sugar has empty calories, messes with your metabolism, gives you belly fat, and makes your insulin wonky, which can lead to insulin resistance and ultimately obesity. These easy ways to cut down on sugar will change your life.
Eating too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your body. It can have so many negative effects on your health.
- Sugar can suppress the immune system.
- There is no nutritional value in sugar. It provides extra calories without the feeling of being full.
- The chemicals released by eating sugar travel the same brain pathways as heroin. It’s highly addictive.
- Sugar is a major contributor to cancer, obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, yeast infections, and a host of other problems.
This doesn’t mean you have to quit sugar altogether, but you should at least find ways to cut down on sugar. You can still enjoy your sweets and guilty pleasures from time to time without completely sabotaging your health.
Here are six easy ways to cut down on sugar for good…
Read food labels.
Our bodies need sugar in its natural state to function properly, but when we process it and add it to food, that’s where the trouble begins. That’s called ADDED sugar, and it’s very dangerous.
The real problem is that added sugars don’t just come from sweets.
If you buy a lot of packaged and processed foods, it’s important to read labels of every packaged item you buy. You’d be shocked at the amount of added sugar in pre-packaged, processed foods like breads, peanut butter, flavored yogurt, crackers, chips, yogurt, salad dressing, almond milk, and even ketchup. Cracking a sugar addiction is hard enough when cutting out the stuff that you already know is loaded with it.
And beware! Sugar is oftentimes disguised in your food’s ingredients in the forms of high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave, maltose, sucrose, honey, dextrose, fruit juice, and more.
Take time to look at the ingredients as well as the sugar content and make an effort to choose foods and brands that have zero added sugar.
This is probably the biggest change you can make in your diet when it comes to cutting out sugar. Practically everything you buy that comes in a box, bag, or can has added sugars. Sometimes one food item has four or five different types of sugar added!
For any drink, cereal, package, energy bar, or whatever prepared food you purchase at the grocery store, read the label.
Stop drinking it.
Skip the soda: The fastest and most effective way to significantly cut your sugar consumption is to forego the soda. A single can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar. hat’s more added sugar than most adults should consume in an entire day. Cutting just that one item is a fantastic way to cut out sugar from your diet.
And no more energy drinks! Those can pack 20 teaspoons plus of sugar in a single serving.
Soda, along with sweetened sports drinks, energy drinks and iced teas, are essentially flavored, liquefied sugar. You get all the calories with the feeling of being full.
Water is best, but if you want something sweet to drink or are trying to lose weight, diet drinks can be a better choice than sugary drinks. Cut out sugar-sweetened beverages and energy or sports drinks. This is one of the most obvious ways to cut down on sugar.
Drink plenty of water. Your body can confuse thirst for hunger. When a serious sweets craving comes along, drink a whole glass of water, wait 15 minutes, and see if you’re actually hungry. Quite often, you’re not. Water also helps your metabolism run smooth and naturally detoxes your body.
Eat protein and/or fat with every meal.
A high sugar intake is linked to increased appetite and weight gain. Alternatively, a diet low in added sugar but high in protein and fat has the opposite effect, reducing hunger and food intake.
Fat is very high in energy. It contains 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in protein or carbs. A high fat intake is also reduces your appetite. Healthy fats include avocados, nuts, and oils like olive oil and coconut oil.
Include protein with each meal and snack. Protein adds staying power! It slows down digestion and keeps blood sugar levels stable to stop sugar cravings and leave you feeling satisfied longer. To cut down on sugar, stock up on protein like handful of nuts or seeds, string cheese, a slice of turkey, eggs, full-fat dairy products and avocados. Protein has been proven to reduce appetite and hunger. If you feel full, then you are less likely to crave the quick hunger fix that sugar provides.
Replace it completely.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, sometimes it’s hard to eat anything without a little bit sugar. Fortunately, there are lots of spices that have zero calories available to make life a little sweeter.
Add spices. Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg. Cinnamon will make things taste sweet, but it has the added benefit of helping you control your appetite by regulating blood sugar.
Try extracts. Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts like almond, vanilla, orange or lemon.
Substitute. Switch out sugar with unsweetened applesauce in recipes (use equal amounts).
Add fruit. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
Keep sugary treats and snacks out of your home.
If you keep high-sugar foods in the house, you are more likely to eat them.
It takes a lot of willpower to stop yourself if you only have to go as far as the pantry or fridge to get a sugar hit.
The easiest way to do this without having to spend hours reading labels is to eliminate anything that is packaged, canned, frozen (with a few exceptions, like frozen organic berries) or pre-cooked. Even potato chips have sugar in them.
The good news is that cutting down on sugar may be easier than you think. Out of site, out of mind.
Dive In Head-First
Remind yourself why you want to cut down on sugar.
You know sugar isn’t good for you. Don’t let your lack of willpower sabotage your efforts to make better choices.
Simply remind yourself of what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight, decrease your risks of cancer, or feel better?
Stick a note on your refrigerator door, or kitchen cabinets, or a daily reminder on your phone about all the wonderful health goals you have.
Don’t plan to do it tomorrow. Don’t do it next week. Just start. Do it right now.
No one eats perfectly all the time. Expect that you will have some setbacks. They are part of the process. Remember! Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it. In time you’ll learn to cut down on sugar for good!