How Did We Get Here
Its not an accident. The sugar industry has conducted an aggressive, decades-long campaign to blame the obesity epidemic on fats, not sugars. Fats, after all, seem as if they should cause obesity. Thanks partly to that campaign, sugar consumption soared in the United States even as people were trying to lose weight. But research increasingly indicates that an overabundance of simple carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, is the No. 1 problem in modern diets. Sugar is the driving force behind the diabetes and obesity epidemics. Fortunately, more people are realizing the harms of sugar and cutting back.
Natural Vs Added Sugars
Natural sugars are in whole foods. An apple, for example, can have around 20 grams. But it also has vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to nourish your body. An appleâs fiber can satisfy your hunger and make your body absorb the sugar from the fruit more slowly. Added sugars are extra calories with no extra nutrition. Theyâre âempty caloriesâ that can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
First Thing In The Morning
Remember, breakfast shouldn’t taste like dessert.
Breakfast is the most dangerous meal of the day for sugar. Many breakfast foods that sound as if theyre healthy are in fact laden with sugar. In Chobani Strawberry Yogurt, for example, the second ingredient ahead of strawberries! is evaporated cane sugar. And many brands of granola have more sugar per serving than Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs. In the United States, as the science writer Gary Taubes says, breakfasts have become lower-fat versions of dessert.
There are two main strategies to ensure that breakfast doesnt become a morning dessert. The first is for people who cant imagine moving away from a grain-based breakfast, like cereal or toast. If you fall into this category, you have to be quite careful, because processed grains are often packed with sugar.
A few grain-based breakfasts with no or very low sugar:
- Cheerios. Theyre quite low in sugar.
- Plain oatmeal. Flavor it with fresh fruit and, if necessary, a small sprinkling of brown sugar.
- Bread. A few breads have no sugar . A longer list of brands have only one gram, or less, per slice . Authentic Middle Eastern breads, like pita and lavash, are particularly good options and a growing number of supermarkets sell them.
- Homemade granola. You can also make your own granola and play around with the sugar amounts.
- Scrambled or fried eggs
- A small portion of well-spiced vegetables, like spinach, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Also Check: Can Eating To Much Sugar Cause Diarrhea
Can Cutting Sugar Lead To Weight Loss What The Science Suggests
Registered dietitians and public health officials alike agree sugar consumption is a major cause of weight gain and obesity in the United States, but the link between sugar and weight gain is complex.
While natural sugars found in fruits and dairy are healthy as part of a whole food, the problem, experts say, is the sugar thats added to our packaged, processed foods. In addition to containing added sugars, which offer no nutritional value, these foods are usually high in calories and unhealthy fat.
Added sugars are added calories without the nutrition, so it adds energy to your overall diet without really increasing the diet quality, says Angela Lemond, RDN, owner of Lemond Nutrition in Plano, Texas.
According to a meta-analysis published in January 2013 in the journal BMJ, decreasing intake of free sugars that are added to foods, and naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, and fruit juices, is associated with a small amount of weight loss, and increasing sugar intake is associated with a small amount of weight gain.
Studies also show that the type of carbohydrate matters. In fact, a review published in 2012 in the journal Food and Nutrition Research found a diet high in refined grains which the body processes similarly to sugar was associated with weight gain, while a diet rich in whole grains was linked to weight loss. Refined grains remove the bran out of the whole grain, which removes a lot of the vitamins and most if not all the fiber, Lemond says.
Blood Sugar Levels Weight Gain High Fructose Corn Syrup Theres A Lot To Watch Out For So Lets Cut Out Sugar Intake Now
Cutting out sugar is difficult. Our bodies are so conditioned to sugar intake that when we dont have any, we tend to enter a state of withdrawal. We can be tired, grumpy, mardy lets just say it makes us think we cant live without it.
In reality, with all of the sugar we intake throughout the day, from natural sugars to added sugar in products, were peaking and crashing so often. Ever feel tired weirdly throughout the day? A likely culprit is sugar. And this becomes especially frustrating if we want to focus on our fitness game.
But sugar isnt just a mild inconvenience for tiredness, its also a huge health risk if not properly approached.
So, to help lose weight, cut out added sugar intake, and keep us ready for a run, lets run through some tips to cut out sugar entirely.
Also Check: How Many Hours After Meal To Check Blood Sugar
Avoid Sauces With Added Sugar
Sauces like ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, and sweet chili sauce are commonplace in most kitchens. However, most people arent aware of their sugar content.
A 1-tablespoon serving of ketchup contains about 1 teaspoon of sugar. That means ketchup is a whopping 29% sugar more sugary than ice cream .
Look for condiments and sauces labeled no added sugar to cut back on the hidden sugars in these products.
Other options for seasoning your food that are naturally low in added sugars include herbs and spices, chili, mustard, vinegar, pesto, mayonnaise, and lemon or lime juice.
The Benefits Of Eliminating Sugar
Sugar itself isn’t a bad thing. Our bodies need sugar. The problem is that Americans often consume too much added sugar, which can lead to health problems, such as:
- Liver and kidney disease
Since most people eat too much added sugar, reducing the intake can benefit you. By reducing the sugar in your diet, you can reduce the risk of developing any health problems.
Eating too much added sugar can also cause problems with your teeth , weight gain, and skin aging. If you cut back on added sugar, you can improve your dental health, skin, and weight.
Recommended Reading: Does Garlic Reduce Blood Sugar
How To Frost Sugar Cookies:
I have a slight obsession with Christmas magazines. Over the past couple of years, Ive been seeing a frosting technique where dots of frosting are added in a row onto a cookie. The dots get spread out and then another row of dots is added and the pattern repeats. I LOVE the look!
I loved it so much that I had to give it a try. What do you think?
In my opinion, this method works especially well for things like Christmas trees because the spread-out little frosting dots look like the fluffy branches of a pine tree. Love that!
I went pretty minimal with my Christmas tree cookie decorations, but Im thinking it might be fun to add more colorful sprinkles to give the look of ornaments and lights.
Dont Stress Over Natural Sugars In Dairy And Most Fruits
For most people, natural sugars found in whole foods arent something to worry about. Dairy products contain lactose, a natural sugar, but you also get essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D , potassium, and magnesium. Likewise, fruit is loaded with vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and phytonutrients and are high in fiber and water, which promotes satiety, keeps you feeling fuller longer, and helping prevent weight gain. If its naturally occurring, you shouldnt stress about the natural sugars that are included it in, because youre getting other nutrition with it, Lemond says.
Still, it is important to recognize that some fruits, like papaya, pineapple, and mango, are higher in natural sugars than other types of fruit. Thats not an issue for most people, but those with type 2 diabetes should be mindful of portion size with these kinds of fruits, due to their potential to spike blood sugar. Fruits like raspberries, apples, and oranges have a relatively lower risk of throwing blood sugar levels out of whack.
RELATED: The 8 Best Fruits for People With Type 2 Diabetes
Read Also: What Blood Sugar Monitor Is Best
Ask Yourself Whats The Very Least I Can Get Away With
For instance, if you pour syrup on your pancakes, start by measuring how much you usually pour. Most people are surprised to find out that theyre pouring something like a quarter of a cup of syrup onto their pancakes, she says. It doesnt seem like that much when youre pouring it. Instead of using that much, try spooning a tablespoon over them. If that looks skimpy, then use two tablespoonsthats still half as much as you were having before, Ansel points out.
What Happens When You Cut Out Added Sugar For 30 Days
March 11, 2018 By Molly
On January 2nd, your favorite bakers took a bold leap away from their comfort zone: We both committed to cutting out added sugar for the month of January.
The idea to give up sugar was first inspired by Pinch of Yums No Sugar January. I love Lindsey and basically want to copy her life, so I was pretty quickly on board with the idea of doing No Sugar January. Over Christmas I mentioned my plan to Audrey and the rest of our family, and they all decided to join me with pretty much zero persuasion on my part.
We all printed out Lindseys No Sugar January worksheets and brainstormed the rules that would govern our period of sugar abstinence. Lindseys philosophy was to do what works for you and allow yourself some wiggle room. So, for example, if youd go totally crazy with no sugar outlets whatsoever, allow yourself one or two small indulgences to assuage your cravings . Or if refraining from having a glass of wine all month would make it impossible for you to stay committed, allow yourself weekend wine.
Basically, create a structure that will help you be the most successful in minimizing added sugar intake throughout the month.
Lindseys no-sugar commitment also excluded refined grains and alcohol. We adopted that model too.
Heres what the sugar-free list looked like for me:
Recommended Reading: What Foods To Eat To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
How To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet
1. Stop Buying Processed Foods
This is probably the hugest 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!
2. Make Your Own Spaghetti/Tomato Sauce
If you cant quite take the step to cut out all processed or ready-made foods, at least cut out store-bought tomato sauce. These often have really high amount of sugar and you just dont need it. Its easy to make your own: simmer some canned or fresh tomatoes in a pot with some fresh herbs. Even if you add a bit of sugar to taste, it will still be way less than what is in the store-bought stuff.
3. Choose Whole, Fresh Fruit Over Juice, Dehydrated, or Other Fruit Products
Juice, fruit roll-ups, and dehydrated fruit taste great, of course: theyre almost pure sugar! Added to this is the fact that all or most of the fiber is gone. Treat your body to the natural benefits of fruit and eat it fresh and whole. Choose berries, cherries, grapefruit, lemon, and limes over apples, bananas, and other fruit the former are higher in glucose and lower in fructose and tend to have a lower overall content.
Heres a recipe for a great Paleo Fruit Salad.
4. Avoid Flavored Yogurt
5. Make Your Own Salad Dressing
6. Give Yourself A Quota
7. Give Yourself Rules About Dessert
8. Dont Keep Treats In The House
9. Try Xylitol or Stevia
10. Try Dark Chocolate
12. Cut Out Soda
Why You Should Avoid Sugar
There are many reasons why you should avoid the sweet stuff:
- It makes the body produce less leptin
- It disrupts how amino acids transfer to muscles
- It spurs insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes
- It induces oxidative stress
Not all sugar is terrible for you. Natural sources like that from fruit, honey, and maple syrup arent as bad as from processed sugars and HFCS but its still possible to overdo it. Theres no reason to cut all fruit out of your diet in an attempt to remove all sugar youd be giving up all those antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, minerals, and vitamins at the same time.
So now you know WHY you should avoid sugar and which types are worse how about some tips on how to do it?
Read Also: Does Metamucil Help With Blood Sugar
Another Way To Cut Back On Sugar
The last strategy to cut back on sugar isnt food-related, but its equally important.
10. Get to bed on time
Short sleeping increases the levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone, and decreases the levels of leptin, a hormone that helps with appetite control. Its no wonder its hard to manage your food intake with out-of-whack hormones.
Research also suggests sleep deprivation increases cravings for junky food, especially between meals.
Get the sleep your body desperately craves. Too little sleep also makes you less insulin sensitive, which is terrible for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as for heart health.
Finally, please dont break my nutritionist heart. Enjoy health-boosting fruits and other wholesome foods without obsessing about the sugars. And treat yourself to just enough dessert to meet your health goals and not be grumpy.
If youre struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, it might be because you make 1 or all 5 super common mistakes.
Learn And Recognize All The Different Names For Sugar
Now that you know which ingredients to look for, don’t stop there. There are over 56 different names for added sugar including:
- sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltoseor any word ending in “-ose”
Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. So, the closer these sugar ingredients are to the beginning of the list, the more of that sweetener is used in the food.
If several forms of sugars appear on the label, think twice about making it a regular addition to your diet. Sometimes, manufacturers will use several forms of sugar on the label to prevent a single source from appearing close to the beginning of the ingredient list. In this case, check the nutrition facts panel to see just how much sugar is in the food.
To find out exactly how much added sugar, look at a similar, unflavored version of the product you’re interested in buying and see how they differ. For example, if a serving of plain oatmeal has 1 gram of sugar and a flavored version has 16 grams, it’s safe to assume you’d be consuming 15 grams of added sugar. When it comes to candy and sweets, assume all of it’s the added variety.
Recommended Reading: Is 79 Sugar Level Too Low
Q Sugar Substitutes Which Do You Prefer
Sarah: This is tricky. Even natural sugar substitutes like honey, coconut sugars and agave are still sugar. Im interested in the plant-based substitute, stevia.
For more information on Sarah, her eight-week programme to give up sugar, and her sugar-free recipes, visit sarahwilson.com. You can also buy her best-selling book, I Quit Sugar for Life .
Your Skin Will Improve
Trying to fix that flawed complexion and finally stop suffering from breakouts? “Removing sugar is one of the most effective strategies to reduce aging as a non-inflamed state allows the collagen to stay strong and pliable,” Ariane Hundt, a clinical nutritionist, tells us. In addition to that, “Sugar makes the collagen structure of the skin rigid.”
Read Also: How Do You Know If You Have Sugar
Heres How To Cut Back On Sugar
10 ways to decrease sugar intake
So now you get the real goal is to decrease your added sugar intake. Theres nothing about the sugars in milk or peaches or carrots that make them inherently bad.
1. Cut back on obvious sources of added sugar
Sodas, sugary teas, fancy coffee drinks, energy drinks, lemonade and fruit punch are obvious examples of drinks with lots of added sugar. Baked goods, flavored coffee creamer, pancake syrup, and jelly also pack a load of added sugar. If you rarely eat and drink these foods, kudos, youre doing well!
But if you have one or more most days, youre probably over the AHA recommended limit.
- A single can of soda has about 40 grams of added sugars. Thats 10 teaspoons more than the AHA limit for men!
- If you drizzle a single tablespoon of honey on your morning toast, youve added 17 grams of sugar. YIKES!
Sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, this is one source of sugar you really want to decrease.
2. Recognize the many names for sugar
You say glucose. I say fructose. Both are sugars.
Though not a complete list, here are various names that signal added sugars.
Agave nectar, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane syrup, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, malt sugar, molasses, sucrose
3. Gradually cut back the amount of sugar you add at home
5. Go fruit-forward
7. Go mini
Lower Heart Disease Risk
High triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease. Less added sugar can lower those levels and may help stop weight gain and fat buildup linked to heart disease. If you get more than 20% of your calories from added sugar — even if youâre at a healthy weight — you may be able to lower your heart disease risk when you cut back.
You May Like: How To Decorate Sugar Cookies