Practically everything in a modern supermarket contains at least some amount of sugar, ranging from frozen dinners to sweet pop. High levels of sugar are known to be harmful to the body and have even been shown to increase the risk of certain diseases like cancer or diabetes. Sugar is a nasty ingredient because it’s high in calories yet offers little to no nutritional value. If you haven’t started cutting down on your sugar consumption now is a great time to reconsider your diet. Find out ten easy ways to cut out sugar.
Avoid Hidden Sugars
Sugar is found everywhere, even in places where you don’t expect to see it. This makes sugar a hidden danger, present at nearly all of our meals. In fact, most people consume high amounts of sugar without even being aware of it because sugar is used to sweeten all kinds of foods – bread, sauces, and canned goods. You should limit sugar consumption to just six teaspoons of added sugar daily, but it’s always okay to eat natural sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables, for example. However, keep everything in moderation.
Keep An Eye On Labels
One of the best ways to cut out sugar is by being prudent with food labels. Most people don’t pay attention to them; if anything, they’re just a minor nuisance. However, food labels exist for an important reason: they alert consumers to the contents of food products, which may not always be healthy. It can be surprisingly easy to read food labels: just scan the back of the product to see how much sugar a certain product contains. You’ll also see how much that product accounts for your daily sugar allowance (assuming you’re a healthy adult) along with other vital aspects.
Sugar Is In Everything
You may be shocked to know that sugar can appear in more than one form, meaning that you should be careful about consuming other types of sugar. For example, ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, and different kinds of syrups are also considered sugars and often represent the same threat to your health, if not more. To make matters worse, while specific products don’t contain sugar, they might include other derivatives. This can make it difficult to embark on a sugar-free or sugar-reduced diet. Try upping a number of fruits and vegetables you consume.
Opt For Unsweetened Products
To reduce the amount of sugar you consume, try looking for healthier alternatives that contain less sugar – or even better, no sugar at all. If you think about it, you probably consume considerable amounts of sugar because you don’t take the time to look for the unsweetened version of the same products. By choosing sugar-free options, you help combat the harmful effects of sugar on the body and who knows, you might even save a buck or two. Non-dairy milk products, butter, and canned products can all be easily found on supermarket shelves, and without any excess sugar.
Reduce Consumption Gradually
Sudden changes in diet can be harmful because the body needs time to adapt. Cutting out all sugar from your diet from one day to the next would be akin to hitting a stone wall – in other words, it would probably make you feel terrible. The best way to start a healthy diet is to reduce your sugar consumption slowly. Cut back on sugar gradually, for example, by drinking less soda, or putting fewer sugar cubes in your morning cup of coffee or tea. Naturally, you should also substitute sugar-rich foods with healthier alternatives that include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Don’t Drink Soda
Soda is a popular drink that encompasses lots of different and well-known products such as coca-cola and sprite. Pop is also a significant contributor to diseases like tooth decay and diabetes. That’s why this is the primary product you should aim at removing entirely from your diet. Soda can easily be replaced by healthier drinks like fruit juice and preferably water. Soda can damage many parts of the body, including the teeth, stomach, and it can even affect the brain. It’s full of sugar and other additives that make it one of the healthiest products out there.
Avoid Sugary Breakfast Foods
If you’re like most Americans, you probably love a good and hearty breakfast. But one of the downsides to this traditional and essential meal is that it’s often loaded with all kinds of additives and other highly processed products. And sugar plays an integral part in many breakfast dishes, including cereals, bread, and artificial juices. Instead of eating sugar-loaded cereal, try healthy oatmeal. To make it more pleasant, try adding apples or other fruits into the mix. You can also enjoy water instead of juice, and replace white bread with whole grain toast.
Enjoy Natural Sweets
Everyone likes to treat their sweet tooth every once in a while. We’ve grown up surrounded by delicious temptations such as chocolate and gummy bears which are often highly irresistible. It’s not uncommon to have a binge-eating session where one indulges on all kinds of sweets. The high concentration of sugar in these products creates a dependence on sugar, whereby our brains need it to feel satisfied, sort of like smoking. However, if you replace artificial sweets with natural sweets like dried fruits or fruit leather you’ll get all the flavor without any of the harmful side effects.
Have It Black
A quick and easy change you can immediately implement is not to use sugar to sweeten your coffee or tea. It may not seem like it, but over time you likely use many pounds of sugar just to give your morning drink that beloved sweet flavor. But, if you gradually cut down on added sugar you’ll get used to the new character in no time. Drinking plain black coffee is quite healthy, and you might even feel its energy-boosting effects faster than if you drank it with lots of sugar.
Chew On Gum
Keep your sweet tooth occupied by chewing on a piece of gum after a hefty meal. That way, you’ll block any need to further chow down on unhealthy foods. Another added benefit is that gum can help reduce cavities, primarily if it contains xylitol, an element often added to gum in many European countries. You can enjoy naturally sweetened gum up to three times per day. If you have cavities or suffer from other oral hygiene issues, consult your doctor before using gum as a way to cut down on sugar.