Top 10 Tips For Cutting Added Sugar From Your Diet
It’s never a bad time to start taking a good, hard look at your sugar consumption and deciding that it might be time for a sugar breakup.
Along with being not so great for your waistline, sugar is one of the worst ingredients for your health, and having too much of it can affect much more than just your weight loss goals. With blood sugar spikes and drops that can lead to moodiness, tiredness, low energy, and even trouble sleeping, its time to kick this habit to the curb.
Whether you are choosing to start the no added sugar diet or just looking to cut back on those sugar calories, follow along below for more information on added sugar as well as 10 Registered Dietitian-approved tips to cut sugar out of your diet.
Sugar Is In Everything
No, seriously. I thought I knew this when I read this article on deceptively sweet health food. Hidden sugars blah, blah. But no, really. Sugar is in everything. I learned to read nutrition labels even closer than I had been, which helped me make healthier choices. And thats a habit I can take with me beyond this month-long experiment.
Eliminate All Added Sugars
This includes evaporated cane syrup , coconut sugar syrups such as brown rice and maple, molasses, honey , agave, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, date sugar, coconut nectar, and all fruit juices . When buying plant-based milks, always buy unsweetened. Instead of cereals with added sugars , opt for plain oatmeal and cook it with some unsweetened applesauce to sweeten it naturally. Stevia is also excellent since its from an herb and naturally sugar-free. Learn about how to buy the healthiest stevia possible for some tips to avoid unnecessary additives.
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Choose Fruits Over Desserts
Most desserts like ice-cream, cake, or cookies are filled with crazy amounts of sugar. It causes a blood spike, one reason you feel tired, hungry, and craving more sugar. Choose healthier alternatives like easy to pack apples and mandarin oranges.
Fruits not only bring down your sugar cravings but also increase the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet. Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, pears, and plums are the lowest in natural sugar.
But if you are craving a sweet dessert, you can binge on a few chunks of dark chocolate. It has high cocoa content that makes it relatively less sugary yet tasty. You can also enhance foods with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or lemongrass instead of sugar.
How Much Sugar Per Day To Lose Weight
Simply following government guidelines to cut sugar to 30g a day, from the average UK adults 59g consumption, would save around 833 calories a week.
That would equate to around a quarter of a pound of weight loss in a week almost a stone in a year. Not bad when all you have to do is stay within healthy guidelines to do it.
Of course if you are already on a weight loss plan, the chances are youre consuming less than 2000 calories a day, so youd be cutting even more sugar if you stick to no more than 5% of calories from sugar as suggested.
- 5% calories from sugar on 2000 calories a day = 25g
- 5% calories from sugar on 1500 calories a day = 19g
- 5% calories from sugar on 1100 calories a day = 14g
You can find out how many calories, and therefore how much sugar, you should eat to lose weight at your chosen rate by taking a free trial of the wlr tools.
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Ways To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet
Have you been trying to lose weight and, despite regular exercise, failing? Or, maybe you’ve heard all the stories of those who have managed to cut sugar out of their diet completely and wish to join them. Whatever your reason, the removal of sugar from your diet is not only healthy, but beneficial to your lifestyle. People report feeling happier, healthier, and cleaner after reducing their sugar intake. Your cognitive functioning improves, as well as your feelings of well-being.
Below is a list of the six ways that I have found most effective for cutting down or completely stopping your sugar intake. They are easy to practice and are very effective. In the end, they will make your life a whole lot easier.
The Case Against Sugar
Here’s the short Cliff Notes version: Sugar’s been implicated in everything from chronic, life-threatening health issuessuch as diabetes and heart diseaseto skin problems and good old stealthy weight gain.
Health experts like Frank Lipman, MD, have gone so far as to call sugar the devil, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently required brands to better highlight the sugar content on food labels in a bigger way.
Thats because when you eat sugar, your blood glucose levels spike, which results in a burst of energyfollowed by a quick crash, Susan Blum, MD, explains. You can run your blood sugar up and down all day, she explains, because when you crash, you go looking for more sugar to pull yourself back up. Should you try and feed your fatigue with more sugarwhich you may have noticed does not workthe vicious cycle makes you feel run down and cranky.
Plus, sugar is extremely inflammatory in the body, warn both physicians. It triggers the immune system, Dr. Blum adds. And chronic inflammation is believed to be the basis of pretty much all disease, which is why sugar’s become such a problem child of ingredients.
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Can Cause Weight Gain
Rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main culprits.
Sweetened drinks like sodas, juices and sweet teas are loaded with fructose, a type of simple sugar.
Consuming fructose increases your hunger and desire for food more than glucose, the main type of sugar found in starchy foods
Additionally, excessive fructose consumption may cause resistance to leptin, an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to stop eating
In other words, sugary beverages dont curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a great number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain.
Research has consistently shown that people who drink sugary beverages, such as soda and juice, weigh more than people who dont
Also, drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased amount of visceral fat, a kind of deep belly fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Buy Plain Flavors And Sweeten Naturally With Fruit
Sure, that key lime pie-flavored yogurt looks mouthwatering, but it’s also filled with sugar and excess calories. Instead, buy plain Greek yogurt and flavor it with fruit and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Aside from its heavenly scent, studies show that cinnamon may aid blood sugar control and boost metabolism, making it a win-win for your flat belly goals.
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How To Get Started
The single best tip is go slowly. If you are used to a diet high in sugar you will find it hard to cut it out all at once, making it more likely you will cave and soon be reaching for that chocolate. Start by identifying where you consume the most sugar is it soft drinks, in hot drinks, sugary snacks or a nightly dessert? Then, cut out just one of these things at a time until your diet is 100% sugar free. Depending on your level of consumption, give yourself one to two months to achieve this.
Standard Diets And Carbohydrate Consumption
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that most people consume a balanced diet made up of carbohydrates, protein and fat. The general recommendation is that the standard 2,000 calorie diet provides 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, which roughly translates into 900 and 1,300 calories per day from carbohydrates. Each gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories, which means that you should be consuming about 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis.
Most people know that carbohydrates can be found in foods like bread, pastries, rice and other grain-based foods. However, carbohydrates are much more than that: This macronutrient can be found in foods like fruits, vegetables, juices, legumes, dairy and a variety of other products. Carbohydrates are categorized into four main types:
There are also sugar alcohols, which are classified as carbohydrates. Like their name implies, sugar alcohols are chemically similar to both sugars and alcohols.Your body can’t fully process sugar alcohols, which means they pass through your gut, undigested. This gives sugar alcohols fewer calories than other carbohydrates.
Sugars are found naturally in some foods and drinks, like fruits or milk. They might also be added to foods and beverages, like cakes, cookies and soft drinks. Many of the products you consume may contain a mixture of naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars, like fruit and vegetable juices.
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Day : Make Smart Swaps Where You Can
Any time you would normally use sugar or artificial sweetener, notice your impulse and then ask yourself if its necessary to enjoy the food or drink. Be mindful of your use of so-called natural sweeteners like agave or honeyyour body handles those the same way as other sugars. Consider swapping in a 1/4 of a mashed banana for your usual sprinkle of brown sugar in oatmeal and take your coffee with a shake of cinnamon instead of flavored syrup. Eliminating added sugar might leave your taste buds yearning for sweetness. Instead, get your sweet fix in with these creative hacks:
- Add vanilla extract. While its not actually sweet, vanilla reminds us of ice cream, cake, and other desserts. Add a few dropsor the contents of a vanilla beanto tea, yogurt, oatmeal, nut butters, or smoothies.
- Try toasted unsweetened coconut. These flakes are naturally sweet and add nuttiness and crunch to breakfast or dessert. Opt for the large flakes over tiny shreds more surface area means more flavor on your tongue.
- Caramelize onions. If youre making tomato sauce or soup, skip the sugar and caramelize any onions in the recipe instead of just sauteing them. Their natural sweetness subs in well.
- Create contrast with salt. Because sugar and salt are polar opposites, a dash of salt can intensify sweetness. Try it on foods that are naturally a little sweet, like sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, or sliced fruit.
Phase : Reduce Hidden Sugars
Time: 1 to 2 weeks
Why: Dressings, sauces, and condiments may seem to merely add some flavor to your food, but they often add sugars that can work against you. A small amount of some condiments can add whole grams of sugar to your meal. Furthermore, we usually dont use only one packet of sweet-and-sour sauce or ketchup instead, we douse our food in these sugar-rich add-ons. Consequently, you might think that youre doing all you can to reduce the amount of sugars youre consuming, but that might not be the case if you continue to eat foods with hidden sugars.
Note that there are many foods that appear to be diet foods that actually might be bad to eat for your new eating plan. Many foods labeled as diet, low-fat, or no-fat replace the fat content with more carbohydrates. We tend to see low-fat and think this is a healthy option, but if low-fat is a synonym for high-sugar, then it is clearly a no-no.
There are also products on the market now that are labeled sugar-free, which appeal to people who are either diabetic or trying to restrict their sugar intake. Proceed cautiously with these products as well. While these products may indeed be sugar-free, they may still contain a lot of fast-metabolizing carbohydrates.
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Is It Even Possible To Cut Out *all* Sugar
In reality, eliminating all sugar from your diet is pretty damn hard. âSugar is contained in so many of the foods we eat on a daily basisâespecially when we go out to restaurants that serve food which contains hidden amounts of sugars,â says Dr. Glatter. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it to be mindful of one’s sugar intake, but to completely cut sugar out of one’s diet would involve a significant amount of research, likely require preparing all the food one eats themselves, and in some cases, could make a person’s experience with food super restrictive and limiting. In other words, it’s not a sustainable way to eat for most.
It’s not a good idea to go completely cold turkey on all forms of sugar from a health standpoint, either. âCutting out all sugar would mean cutting out fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which not only sounds like torture but is also super unhealthy for you,” says Zeitlin. “These are the only three foods that can offer you fiber, so if you cut them out you will likely suffer from constipation, bloat and GI discomfort,” she says. And fiber is a crucial nutrient that’s finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks to its proven ability to lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels in check, and maintain digestive healthâso skipping foods that have it to avoid sugar isn’t a good health compromise.
Water From An Air Up Bottle
Its been reported that 16 million Brits want to reduce their sugar intake but are struggling due to a lack of alternatives, which is why we love the clever water bottles from Air Up. Using a specific technology called retronasal smell, Air Up bottles contain a scent pod that fools your brain into thinking youre tasting a flavoured drink when youre drinking water.
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Check For Sugar In Canned Foods
Canned foods can be a useful and inexpensive addition to your diet, but they can also contain a lot of added sugar.
Fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring sugars. However, these arent usually an issue since they dont affect your blood sugar the same way added sugar does.
Avoid canned foods that are packed in syrup or have sugar on the ingredient list. Fruit is sweet enough, so go for versions labeled packed in water or no added sugar.
If you buy canned fruits or vegetables that do have added sugar, you can remove some of it by rinsing them in water before you eat them.
What Happens To Your Body When Sugar Is Cut Out
Visible belly loss
Added sugar is synonymous with added caloriesand extra weight, according to a BMJ meta-analysis. And once you swap out processed, sugary meals with high-fiber foods, youll instantly notice a slimmer waistline and visible weight loss. Thats because when your body is deprived of added sugars, itll start burning belly fat instead of carbohydratesblessing you with the toned tummy youve been dreaming of. Start by steering clear of these sugariest restaurant dishes.
Your cravings are managed better
Foods filled with simple carbs and refined sugars such as doughnuts, cookies, and white bread can cause dopamine spikes, resulting in incessant sugar cravings. Sugar intake may lead to an increased number of and/or affinity for opioid receptors, which in turn leads to further ingestion of sugar and may contribute to obesity.
Weaning yourself off the sweet stuff can help you curb cravings and stop that destructive snacking habit in its tracks.
Youll stay energized throughout the day
If your morning diet is dependent on bagels and pancakes, and you find yourself reaching for one too many cups of joe, its definitely time to rethink your eating habits.
Cutting out these culprits laced with added sugar and replacing them with slow-digesting protein- and healthy fat-rich snackssuch as these best foods for energycan help balance your energy levels throughout the day.
Better dental health
More focused increased productivity
Smoother, youthful skin
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Sugar Cravings Hydrate With Water
Its so hard to quit sugar when sugar cravings can be so powerful. Your secret weapon is free and always available water.
There are so many reasons why water is important for vitality, including its ability to kick sugar cravings. Have you ever had a sudden sweet craving or sudden and unexpected hunger come on? Perhaps you ate not too long ago, and so this simply doesnt make sense.
When youre dehydrated, the body often confuses this with hunger, and so you likely overeat or reach for unhealthy foods. Drinking enough water makes you feel full and flushes out excess sugar from the body, therefore keeping cravings at bay.
Simple Ways To Stop Eating Lots Of Sugar
Eating too much sugar may be devastating for your health.
Added sugar, which is the sugar found in sodas, sweets, and other processed foods, has been shown to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay .
Research suggests that most Americans eat anywhere from 5592 grams of added sugar daily, which is equivalent to 1322 teaspoons of table sugar each day representing about 1216% of daily calorie intake .
This is significantly more than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of getting less than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars .
The World Health Organization goes a step further, recommending less than 5% of calories from added sugar for optimal health .
However, it can be challenging to slash added sugars from your diet. This article lists 13 simple ways to stop eating so much sugar.
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