Smart Swaps For Coffee And Tea
Lemon, licorice, and anise are good flavorings for your tea. For coffee, try cinnamon, vanilla extract, or unsweetened cocoa powder. If you can drink milk, stir some in to add sugar thatâs natural, but not sweet. Tip: Scan the nutrition information for your favorite coffee-shop beverage to learn which ones are loaded with the sweet stuff.
Swap Marinara Sauce For Fresh Tomatoes
There’s really no need to add sugar to tomato sauce because, well, the fruit is naturally sweet. But that doesn’t stop food manufacturers from loading their cans to the brim with the stuff. Since store-bought tomato sauce is often made with things like dehydrated tomatoes and cheap oils, they rely on the sweet stuff to amp up the flavor. Your best bet? Switch to a no-sugar-added option like Ragu’s No Sugar Added Tomato Basil or combine chopped fresh tomatoes with olive oil and spices in a frypan to create a quick pasta topper right on your stovetop.
Beware Of Dried Fruit
Though we’ve never met a raw fruit we didn’t love, dried and canned fruits are entirely different stories. Food manufacturers often add sugar, juice concentrates, vegetable oil, and syrups to extend their fruit’s shelf life and improve the flavor. Steer clear of these culprits to cut sugar and stay slim!
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Ways To Choose Better Sweets
1. Avoid sugary drinks.
In a typical Americans diet, 24% of added sugars come from drinks. A 12-ounce soft drink can have 126 calories worth of added sugar. That one soft drink alone can put some over the American Heart Associations recommendations for daily added sugar.
2. Limit refined sugars.
The more refined a food is, the farther it has been taken from its natural source. Refined sugars like granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup offer no nutritional value for the calories they add.
3. Choose sweeteners closest to their natural form.
Honey, agave syrup, and maple syrup are all forms of sugar. Each of these sugars come from a natural source and offer additional health benefits that refined sugars lack.
4. Try dates as a sweet treat.
Dates are natures candy. Dates are high in natural sugar, but also high in fiber. Once pitted, this sweet fruit can be put in a blender or food processor and used as a healthier base for baked goods, candies, and other sweet treats.
5. Cook more meals at home.
6. Check ingredient labels.
When purchasing any processed food item, read the ingredients label: If any form of sugar is listed in the ingredients, you know its added sugar. There are a whopping 61 ways that sugar can be listed on an ingredient list, so be on the lookout for ingredients that end in -ose and those that include the word syrup or juice, as they are all added sugars.
7. Watch out for sneaky sugars
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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Dont Fall For Misleading Health Claims
A health claim at the front of a pack can encourage us to grab a product without even glancing back once at the ingredient list. Some of the common health claims you need to watch out for include, sugar-free, natural, zero-sugar, healthy, low-fat, diet, light.
For instance, a product that has claims like contains no refined sugar will have other forms of sugar.
Similarly, avoid low-fat products. To compensate for the loss of flavor by fat, manufacturers add exceedingly high amounts of sugar to make it tastier and more palatable.
Throw Away Your Processed Snack Foods
Some brands market their snacks as healthy, wholesome, or natural. Dont be so quick to assume that theyre beneficial for your body. Foods like granola and protein bars might contain as much sugar as chocolate and candy. Some proper healthy snacks you should include in your diet are nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, and hard-boiled eggs.
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Satisfy Your Cravings With Naturally Sweet ‘whole’ Foods
Thankfully, there are plenty of foods that taste sweet naturally and provide you with a ton of nutrition compared with food with added, processed sugar. When you’re cutting back on sugar, don’t be afraid to add in more naturally sweet foods like fruit or sweet potatoes. That way you won’t feel as deprived since you still have sweeter foods in your diet.
You may still miss your candy, dessert or other sweet treats, but over time you’ll find that you enjoy the naturally sweet foods more. When I gave up all added sugar on the Whole30 program, I remember over the course of the 30 days that fruit and other naturally sweet foods tasted like candy. But I wouldn’t have said the same thing if I was still eating sugar or candy. Your taste buds can change over time depending on what you eat regularly.
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Stock Up On Fresh Fruit
So what should you buy instead of all those sweet snacks? Nature’s candy, of course, is naturally free of all added sugars. In fact, dietitians say that eating fresh fruit is one of the healthiest ways to satisfy a sweet craving. To ensure your fruity nosh leaves you full and satisfied, pair it with protein and healthy fats, such as nuts or nut butter , keeping you fuller for longer. Examples of fruit snack pairings include:
- raspberries and low-fat plain yogurt
- banana and peanut butter on whole-grain toast
- apple and low-fat cheddar cheese
- tangerine and cashews
Focus On The Fab Four
The Fab Four is a light structure I built to help my clients remember what nourishing foods they should eat.
These foods can help elongate your blood-sugar curve , and support hormone production, microbiome proliferation, and healthy body composition.
Eating the Fab Four calms various hunger-related hormones and can help reduce your appetite:
- Protein, fat, and fiber induce cholecystokinin , a satiety hormone that can help you feel full. Burton-Freeman B, et al. . Ratios of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers on satiety and energy intake in overweight pre- and postmenopausal women.
- Protein and leafy green vegetables increase glucagon-like peptide-1 , which has played a role in bringing down blood sugar levels in people who have type 2 diabetes. Chudleigh RA, et al. . Comparative effectiveness of long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists in type 2 diabetes: A short review on the emerging data.
- Eating a fiber- and protein-based meal may increase concentrations of peptide YY appetite control hormone. De Silva A, et al. . Gut hormones and appetite control: A focus on PYY and GLP-1 as therapeutic targets in obesity.
Check out this sugar-free granola recipe if youre in a crunchy mood.
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Swap Granola For Crunchy Nuts
Granola can be a delicious snack and can be a wonderful addition to yogurts to give a satisfying crunch. Unfortunately, many granolas are held together by some form of an added sugar.
If you are craving that crunch, snack on some nuts instead. Crushed mixed nuts on top of yogurt will give you a similar satisfaction without the sugar boost.
Swap Candy For California Raisins Or Medjool Dates
When the 3 p.m. sugar craving hits, it is a common practice to hit the vending machine and snag a sweet treat to give a boost. Yes, downing a bag of gummy bears can be satisfying, but it is also loaded with added sugars, artificial coloring, and not much in the nutrition department.
Snacking on fruit like California raisins or medjool dates gives you a similar sweet and chewy snack with zero added sugars. Plus, these fruits are a natural source of fiber and potassium to give you a nutrition boost along with your sweet snack.
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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.
Main Meals & Desserts
Remember, high sugar = 15g or more per 100g food, low sugar = 2g or less per 100g food. Write it down and pop it in your wallet to retrieve when you’re grocery shopping, or bookmark this page on your cell phone.
- Sugar on your pasta?! You bet 150g of pasta sauce can contain 3 tsp of sugar. Sugar is often added for flavour to ready-made sauces, soups and meals.
- Condiments and sauces such as ketchup can have as much as 23g of sugar in 100g roughly half a teaspoon per serving. This can add up over the course of a day.
- Do you need to have dessert every day? Try reducing the amount of dessert you have, or how often you have it. Desserts low in added sugar includ fruit , rice pudding and plain unsweetened yoghurt.
For low sugar, affordable and easy dessert ideas check out these dessert ideas from the My Family Food website.
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Ways To Eat Less Sugarwithout Missing It
A life without any sugar is a life we don’t want to live. And thankfully, experts say you don’t need to eliminate it from your diet. But shaving off some grams here and there is something most of us should be doing. “I’m not of the view that we should be draconian about this,” says Mattes. “Sugars do add palatability. And the most nutritious diet, if it’s not palatable, will have no health benefitbecause people won’t eat it.” These strategies can help you find that balance.
Reducing Sugar Intake To Stay Healthy
But all this sugar can be problematic. Not only does sugar lead to weight gain, but it can also play a role in the development of heart disease and most of all, diabetes.
Whether youve already been diagnosed with diabetes, or are just trying to cut back on your sugar intake to avoid the disease, it can be quite hard to lower your sugar consumption. By now, you probably know the difference between healthy sugars and fake ones, but you can still be overconsuming.
So if youre trying to eat healthier or trying to keep your glucose levels under control because youre diabetic, here are easy ways to simply cut down on your sugar intake.
Read the labelsNothing is as simple as being an informed consumer. Knowing what youre putting in your mouth can help you cut down on your sugar. Although there are many food items that contain their own sugars, its the added sugars over which you have the most control thats where labels come into play.
The American Heart Association recommends keeping added sugars to about 100 calories a day for the average woman, and no more than 150 calories a day for men. This is roughly six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men. These estimates are based on healthy American adults and differ from recommendations for people with diabetes. If you are a diabetic, your doctor can help recommend how much sugar you should be consuming.
- Agave nectar
- Ethyl matol
- Lemon or lime
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Tips To Reduce Sugar Intake
One of my goals for the coming year is to reduce my sugar intake. Alans sweet tooth is epic, and that means that I am also struggling with ways to avoid extra sweets because they are always around the house. While its easy to say just dont eat it, it is a little more complicated than that. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your sugar intake.
Limit Items With High Sugar Content In The House
If you keep high sugar foods in the house, you may be 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.
However, if you live with others it can be hard to keep certain foods out of the house so you may want to have a plan in place for when sugar cravings strike. Studies have shown that distractions, such as doing puzzles, can be very effective at reducing cravings .
If that doesnt work, then try to keep some healthy low sugar snacks in the house to munch on instead.
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Instead Drink More Water
H2Oh, yeah, baby. The good stuff.
Wake up and drink two large glasses of water to help flush out your system and lower blood glucose levels. Its especially important when you might be dehydrated after a big night out .
When youre dehydrated, the volume of blood decreases, and the blood glucose remains the same. This means more of your blood consists of sugar in other words, the concentration of sugar is higher.
Simple Steps To Reducing Sugar Intake
Itâs hard not to get overwhelmed by information about how sugar can be bad for us, especially if you have a sweet tooth. But, as always, itâs about balance and moderation. These simple tips will give you a good head start to eating less sugar and maintaining your health, whether you’re a sugar addict or just want to decrease your overall intake.
âUplevel your detective skills ðµï¸
Sugar can be hidden in virtually any food under the sunâeven meat and other savoury things! As a first step to reducing your sugar intake, become vigilant about checking food labels for added sweeteners. Whilst it can take a lot of mental resilience to turn down a cookie or other treat, itâs relatively easy to simply heighten your awareness about hidden sugars.
Opt for fruit ð
Whole fruits are unrefined and therefore are much better for you than other sweet snacks because of the fibre and nutrients they contain, which counter many of the harmful effects of fructose. The obvious conclusion here is to try replacing dessert or sugary snacks with whole fruits, but there may be other opportunities to do this as well, such as swapping sugar in your cereal or porridge for dried berries, or having strawberries with a little chocolate instead of a chocolate bar alone.
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Phase : Drastically Reduce Carbs
Time: 3 to 4 weeks
Why: When you reach this point, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself! You have eliminated the sugar-rich, empty calories from your diet. At this point, you should start to see and feel a change: you have fewer withdrawal symptoms and more energy, and there is a noticeable difference in the way that you look and feel about yourself.
While you have already reduced your intake of simple carbohydrates, like sugars from beverages, you still have to tackle complex carbohydrates, like breads, pastas, and rice. Both simple and complex carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can detract from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates.
Eating too many carbohydrates is like putting yourself on a roller coaster your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. Before you know it, youre hungry because your body quickly digested the food youre craving more, and so the ups and downs continue. There is a way to get off of the roller-coaster ride and take control: reduce your intake of any carbohydrates that you abuse, and by abuse, we mean eating them not necessarily because you need them due to hunger, but because you want them to feel normal and to avoid the awful feelings associated with the withdrawal syndrome.