Table of Contents
- 1 10 Tips on Cutting Down on Sugar Intake
- 1.1 How to Reduce Sugar Intake and Cravings
- 1.2 Conclusion
10 Tips on Cutting Down on Sugar Intake
Sugar can be hard to reduce in your diet. It’s literally everywhere and eliminating or reducing sugar cravings can be be really difficult to manage. I know because I used to be a sugar addict.
In today’s article I’m sharing with how to reduce sugar intake in your diet without going crazy with these top ten tips. If you’re interested, keep watching.
Today’s topic is sugar and how to reduce it in your diet. I’m going to give you practical tips to reduce the sugar. These are things that I have learned from my own experience because I was a sugar addict at one point.
They are also the tips I’ve researched and found out that they work for many people who follow them. So I hope these things work for you.
Now before we dive in I need to mention one important thing that gives us context in our discussion.
In this article we are talking about tackling added sugar – not natural sugar in whole foods. So I’m talking about reducing sugar in things like breakfast cereals, processed foods, snacks, candies.
I’m not talking about reducing your sugar in things like tomatoes, carrots, apples, oranges. I think sugar in natural foods is not a problem because they have fibre and they have a lot of the vitamins and minerals intact.
The problem really is added sugar. Now how much added sugar should you have per day ? What is the limit?
Well the World Health Organization (WHO) actually has a limit.
So their limit is 50 g per day. They recommend staying below that. To put that into perspective, that’s not a lot. If you were to have a can of soda, you would have roughly 40 g. So that doesn’t leave you much room for more sugar. Now if you’re looking for maximum health benefits, the recommendation is below 25 g per day.
Now that you know the details and the background, let’s dive into the tips on how to reduce sugar intake that happens through your diet.
How to Reduce Sugar Intake and Cravings
1. Read Your Labels
Read the labels on all of your processed foods. So I’m not really a big fan of eating processed foods. I try to stick to whole foods, but sometimes you gotta eat the processed foods.
How can you tell if you’re having too much sugar or not. Learn to read the labels. On the ingredient list, all the ingredients that were used to make the food are listed.
The first ingredient is typically the one that is used the most and the last ingredient is the one that is used in the least quantity.
So look through the ingredient list and try to look for words that signify sugar. Now the the problem is sugar actually has 60 different names! You can find out more about the different names of sugar by following this link.
I don’t know all of them and I don’t expect you to know all of them. The most common words you want to look for are sugar – obviously. And syrup – so you’re looking for brown rice syrup and malt syrup. Then you have high fructose corn syrup.
So look for the word syrup and also look for words that end with -‘OSE’. What I mean is substances such as glucose, fructose, dextrose. Those are all sugars, so try to avoid foods that have a lot of sugars in them.
2. Eat More Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods that are in their natural form. They are mostly single ingredient foods. So for example, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, that sort of thing.
When you eat whole foods, there are no added sugars. It’s not processed, no one added sugar to it.
So if you have a diet that is primarily whole foods you automatically reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
3. Try Not to Drink Your Calories
One of the easiest ways to have too much sugar is to drink it. Because it doesn’t feel like we’re getting that much. And it’s just very easy to overdo. So whenever I am drinking something, I am very mindful of the amount of sugar in it. I try to ask for unsweetened beverages whenever I am going to a cafe whenever I go to a cafe.
If I’m getting an iced tea or an iced coffee, I try to get it unsweetened. And if you’re going for bottled beverages, refer to point 1, which was to read the label. So try not to drink all of your calories in the form of sugar.
4. Beware of Natural Sweeteners
Don’t get carried away with the natural sweeteners. And I really wish someone had told me this. When I transitioned from a high sugar diet to a low sugar diet, I went from using white sugar to using things like coconut sugar, maple syrup.
I used honey. I used brown rye syrup. I used all these natural sweeteners and you know what? I basically replaced my white sugar addiction with a natural sugar addiction.
I was still addicted to sugar and I still overdid it. Now I’m not saying you can never have natural sugar. Just bear in mind that is very concentrated and it isn’t as good for your health as having fresh fruit.
5. Consume More Protein
Eat more protein. When you don’t eat enough protein with every single meal, your blood sugar tends to be a little bit erratic. So let’s say you have breakfast, it’s a sugary breakfast cereal with a little bit of milk. And you’re out the door at around 8 o’clock.
So you’ve had your breakfast around 7:30. By the time 10:30 rolls around you’re probably going to be hungry. That’s because your breakfast didn’t have enough protein and it had too much sugar.
So your blood sugar went up and then you had that dip and during that dip, you have that sugar craving. Now if you want to prevent that sugar craving, a good idea is to get enough protein with every single meal.
So I recommend at least 15-20 grams of protein as a minimum per meal, so you’re getting your protein throughout the day and you’re stabilizing your blood sugar levels and you’re not going to have those cravings.
6. Eat More Fat
Try and consume more more fat. The reasoning for this is along the same lines as eat more protein. So basically when you eat enough fat with all of your meals, you’re less likely to have those sugar cravings because your blood sugar levels are stable and you’re fuller for longer.
So I recommend that you eat fat from whole foods sources, not from things like oil. Because when you have fat from whole food sources, you’re actually getting all of the nutrition. So let me give you an example. Let’s say you were to compare avocado oil to avocados.
Avocado oil is just a pure fat – there is nothing in there but fat. But avocados have vitamins such as vitamin B, they have the K vitamin, they also have vitamin E and fibre.
So when you’re getting your fat from avocado, actual avocado, not the oil, you’re getting a lot more nutrient bang for your buck. Try to stick to whole food sources whenever possible for your meals because these are the healthiest food sources to eat from. So you can have avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, that sort of thing. Limit your oils.
7. Remove the Temptation.
Now if you have sugary snacks lying in your cupboard and in your fridge, you’re more likely to eat them. It’s because they are right there. You’re not going to have sugary snacks if they are not in your home. Out of sight, out of mind, out of mouth out, of belly and out of bloodstream.
It’s very unlikely that you’re going to get dressed, get in your car and go to the grocery store when that sugar craving strikes. This leads me to my next point on how to reduce sugar intake for better health.
Just because you can’t have the sugary snacks, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. So I recommend keeping some low sugar snacks around at home. You can keep freshly cut fruit in your fridge if that helps, but sometimes you want something a little extra.
So one simple thing that you could do is frozen grapes. So grapes are naturally very sweet and once you freeze them, they take on a very different texture and they become a little bit more enjoyable.
Now frozen grapes is one thing. The second thing I like to do is frozen bananas. You can actually make frozen banana popsicles.
So take a ripe banana, peel it, put a popsicle stick in it if you have one, you don’t have to use a popsicle stick. Put it in the freezer for 24 hours or until it completely hardens.
And the next day when you have that sugar craving, you can actually take that frozen banana, dip it in a little bit of melted dark chocolate, put some shredded coconut on top and you have a frozen banana popsicle.
It’s got fruit, it’s got healthy fat from the coconut and it’s got dark chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that.
Another example is apple nachos. I’m not going to tell you exactly how to make it because it will make this article really too long. So here’s a link on how to make apple nachos.
9. Find a Different Stress Reliever
Don’t use sugar as a way to relieve stress. Now when you’re studying for example, you can be easily very stressed out and sugar could be the first thing you reached for as form of stress relief. Now sugar does lower your stress, however it’s a short term solution, it’s not a long term solution.
I have realized over the years that the best way to manage your stress, is not through food, it’s not through sugar, it’s through other avenues. Things like meditation (you can use a free meditation app to help with guided meditation options), yoga, going for a walk in the park, having a bubble bath, anything that works for you.
Anything that reduces your stress is a good way to do it. One of the things I find really helps with stress management is self-care.
10: Never Say Never
The problem with having a black and white approach to sugar is that it doesn’t work long-term. I have seen lots of advice online recommending how to reduce sugar intake by cutting it out completely. However, life is about finding balance.
Now I’m not saying to have sugar in moderation because I don’t think you can have sugar in moderation. It is very difficult to stay in the moderation zone. But having sugar occasionally, when they occasion warrants it is not a problem.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say it’s your grandma’s 90th birthday and she’s baked a cake. All by herself for her birthday. Are you gonna say no to that? I don’t think so. Because that’s a special occasion. That’s an occasion that warrants having a piece of cake.
You don’t have to have the whole thing – you could share it with somebody. But sometimes it’s OK to have the sugar, so give yourself that allowance. A lot of things in life, nutrition included, are about finding balance, so find that balance that works for you.
When it comes to figuring out how to reduce sugar intake gradually and being successful, these are the tips that have helped me over the months and years.
If you’re hooked, reducing sugar intake is not going to happen overnight. It’s a gradual process. Take a couple of these tips and work on them and then add more over time.
Once you see the positive impact that will have on your health, it will encourage you to do more.
What are some of the ways, tips and strategies you have used to kick sugar addition? Share them with our readership.