Consuming foods that are rich in sugar consistently is one of the worse things you can do your body. This is because high levels of sugar in the body has negative effects on health. Excessive consumption of foods that are rich in sugar has been shown to cause diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay. Sugar is found naturally in food products such as fruits and vegetables.
This type of sugar has little to no adverse effect on the body. Asides from sugar, fruits, and vegetables also contain a lot of vitamins and minerals. The sugar that is bad for our health is the type present in processed foods. Statistics have shown that the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of sugar per day. This is way above the upper daily limit that experts recommend. This piece contains some helpful tips in slashing sugar from your diet.
- Reduce the consumption of sugar-filled drinks: Most popular drinks do contain a lot of sugar. Examples of this include sodas, energy drink, sports drink, fruit drinks and so on. In addition, some so-called “healthy drinks” such as smoothies and fruit juices can still contain a large amount of sugar. The body can’t differentiate between calories from drinks in the same way it does from food. Studies have shown that reducing your consumption of sugary drinks can help in losing a significant amount of weight. Below are some of the lower-sugar drink options:
- Water: Water is abundantly available and cheap. It also contains zero amount of calories.
- Water with mint and cucumber: This also contains a low amount of calories, and it’s amazingly refreshing in warm weather.
- Fruit teas: You should drink this hot or cold with ice.
- Sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime: This can be made at home.
As earlier mentioned, cutting down on the consumption of sugar intake can help you lose weight.
- Avoid sugar-loaded desserts: Generally, desserts don’t have a lot of nutritional value. They are abundant in sugar, which causes the blood sugar to surge, and can leave you tired, hungry and wanting more sugar. Examples of desserts include grain, dairy-based desserts, cakes pies, doughnuts, ice cream and so on. The above listed represent about 18% of the intake of added sugar in the American diet. Below are some of the alternatives if you really need something sweet:
- Fresh fruit: Fresh fruit are sweet, and also contains other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and so on.
- Greek yogurt with cinnamon: This is rich in calcium, protein, and vitamins.
- Baked fruit with cream: Examples of this include pear, apple or plums.
- Dark chocolate: The higher the cocoa content in a food substance, the lower the sugar.
Another way of slashing sugar from your diet is by swapping sugar-heavy desserts for fresh or baked fruit. This not only helps to reduce your sugar intake but also helps to increase the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet.
- Avoid sauces with lots of sugar: One of the common food product that contains a lot of sugar but people tend to ignore sauces. Examples of this include ketchup, barbecue sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Although some varieties have no added sugar, you should always endeavor to read the label, to be certain you’re choosing the lowest-sugar option. Below are some of the other options to flavor your food:
- Fresh chili: This gives your food a sugar-free kick.
- Fresh herbs and spices: This contains no sugar or calories. In addition, they contain a lot of nutrients, that are beneficial to the body.
- Yellow mustard: They have zero calories or sugar and are tasty.
- Vinegar: vinegar is calorie and sugar-free.
- Harissa paste: This can be made or bought. It can be used to replace sweet chili sauce.
- Mayonnaise: This is sugar-free, but usually high in fat. You should be careful, especially when trying to lose some weight.
- Eat full-fat foods: One of the ways of reducing the sugar in your diet is by eating low-fat options of your favorite foods. Examples of this include peanut butter, yogurt, and salad dressing. High sugar intake has been shown to cause weight gain, which negates the reason you might have chosen a low-fat food in the first place. Overall, studies have shown that low-fat foods may contain more sugar and calories than full-fat versions. It is always best to choose full-fat versions when trying to reduce your sugar intake.
- Eat whole foods: It’s best to eat whole foods that have not been processed or refined. Whole foods are usually without additives and other artificial substances. On the other hand, ultra-processed foods contain salt, sugar, and fats. Ultra-processed foods vary from standard processed foods, which usually have the minimal ingredients added, all of which you might find in a standard kitchen. It has been shown that 90% of the added sugars in average American’s diet come from ultra-processed foods, while 8.7% comes from foods that are made from scratch at home using whole foods. Overall, you should endeavor to cook from scratch as much as you can, so you can avoid sugars. Simple activities like marinating your meat and fish in herbs can yield delicious results.
- Check for sugar in canned foods: A lot of people prefer canned foods because they are cheap and useful to your diet. However, canned food contains a lot of sugar. Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, which are not in any way harmful to the body. You should avoid canned foods that are packed in syrup or that have sugar in the ingredients list. One way of removing sugar in canned foods is by rinsing them in water before eating them.
- Avoid sugar-filled breakfast foods: Breakfast cereals are one of the worst when it comes to sugar content.
There are breakfast cereals that contain over 12 teaspoons of sugar per serving. As an illustration, granola a popular breakfast cereal has more sugar than most types of cereal. Some of the alternatives to this include the following:
- Hot oatmeal
- Greek yogurt
3 Easy Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/ways-to-reduce-sugar-intake-3495185
https://www.health.com. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20809521,00.html
Us, W., Team, P., & Team, P. (2019). 12 Painless Ways to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet. Retrieved from https://blog.paleohacks.com/12-ways-cut-sugar-diet/