People have waged a full-scale war on fat and associated foods, such as greasy burgers, late-night pizza, and fried chicken. However, the mention of sugar, like sand through fingers, sometimes slips the mind of health advocates and dieters. An overdose of sugar adds to caloric intake, which leads to being overweight and a host of health issues. If you’re frustrated about your weight yet keeping away from traditionally fatty foods, you may be neglecting your intake of sugar. Here’s how to slash sugar out of your diet within a month.
Pull the Sweet Tooth
People have different preferences, which leads to favoring donuts over Indian food. Some desire spicy, sour, or salty rather than sweet-tasting foods. Yet, if you love sweet-tasting snacks and main courses, you’re liable to go overboard on sugar. Additionally, sugar is added to foods that don’t even taste sweet, such as bread and condiments. The American Heart Association recommends people limit their intake of sugar to about 100 calories per day, which is less than eight teaspoons!
Read Before You Eat
Secondly, you may be in the habit of eating first and then wondering as to whether what you ate was good for you. Read nutrition labels before buying and ingesting foods. Even mainstream food vendors, like Starbucks, have gotten in the habit of informing customers of associated calories. If you order from a restaurant, ask your server about the ingredients. You may not know the specifics in some cases, but trying to get a sense of what ingredients are in your food and the associated calories helps to limit sugar.
Know the Aliases
The FDA does its best to keep consumers informed, but manufacturers can be tricky. The latter knows too much “sugar” is bad, hence the popularity of “sugar free” varieties, yet sugar can be described otherwise. For example, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maple syrup, and honey are other ways to say “sugar.” Even foods that you think should be healthy, such as yogurt, can contain a variety of sugar types!
Take the Sweet Away
It may take some time to change your preference for taste, but start shopping for unsweetened versions of products, such as cookies and chocolate. “Unsweetened” may also be labeled as “no sugar added.” Purchase canned fruit, applesauce, and oatmeal that does not include added sugar. Experts agree -it’s difficult to stop consuming sugar all at once. Try weaning off; use one packet of sugar in coffee rather than two. Eventually, move down to half a packet and then just milk alone.
Eat More Protein…and Fat
Don’t forget carbohydrates are broken down by the body and turned to sugar. Sure, some carbs, like multigrain bread, are good for you, but an abundance of carbs leads to too much sugar. Therefore, focus more on eating foods packed with proteins, and yes, even fat. Avocados, nuts, and seeds contain good fat, healthy for the body. Additionally, prepare foods with coconut, olive, and walnut oil.
Don’t Go Artificial
Again, manufacturers are savvy to health news and opinions of fitness gurus, hence a variety of fake sweeteners. Don’t start opting for diet coke or placing artificial sweeteners in your coffee. Not only do they contain chemicals that could be bad for your health but they trick your body. Your ability to taste something sweet readies the body for the incoming calories and nutrition, yet artificial substitutes have a different composition and effect on the body.
Add Flavor and Zest
Healthy people can appreciate the distinct taste of foods in addition to methods of enhancement, such as using a variety of spices. A wealth of available and healthy spices are available at local markets and online. Don’t dismiss the flavor associated to ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. For those who love juices but can afford to stay away from the abundance of sugar, low-sugar juice recipes are available online as well.
Remember, slashing sugar means staying away from drinks too, and it doesn’t include soda and juices alone. Some “vitamin” waters and “sport” drinks contain high doses of sugar. As suggested above, be mindful of how much sugar is in a drink by taking a look at the associated ingredients and nutrition labels. It may seem like a hassle to think before you digest, but it’s better for you and helps modify your behavior and lead a healthier life.
You don’t have to do all the things listed above, but trying most and sticking with a few will help you dramatically slash your intake of sugar within the next month.
Mary R. Wilson is a nutritionist and educator. She enjoys sharing her research online through blogging. Her articles mainly appear on health and lifestyle blogs.