Women health

Tips to quit sugar

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar might be harmful to your health.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay have all been linked to added sugar, which is the sugar included in sodas, candies, and other processed meals.

According to research, the average American consumes between 55 and 92 grams of added sugar per day, or 13 to 22 teaspoons of table sugar, which accounts for around 12 to 16% of daily caloric intake.

Getting less than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars, as advised by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is a considerable increase from the current level.

Less than 5% of calories from added sugar is what the World Health Organization advises for optimum health.

To reduce added sugars in your diet, though, can be difficult. This article offers 13 easy strategies for cutting back on sugar consumption.

1. Cut back on sugary beverages

The majority of added sugars in the American diet are found in sweetened beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas, and others.

Astonishing levels of added sugar can even be found in beverages that many people consider to be healthy, like fruit juices and smoothies.

For instance, 1 cup (271 grams) of cranberry juice cocktail has 31 grams, or more than 7 teaspoons, of sugar.

The same goes for calories from drinks; your body doesn't detect them the same way it does from food. Drinks include calories, and since they are readily absorbed, your blood sugar level will rise quickly.

Additionally, since beverages don't make you feel as satisfied as real food does, people who drink a lot of calories don't eat less to make up for it.

Reducing your use of sugary beverages can aid in weight loss and enhance general health.

Listed below are some less-sugary, healthier beverage options:

  1. Water
  2. Unsweetened sparkling water
  3. Herbal teas
  4. Black or green tea
  5. Coffee

2. Steer clear of desserts high in sugar.

Most desserts don't have a lot of nutritional value. They include a lot of sugar, which raises blood sugar levels and can make you feel hungry, sleepy, and like you want more sugar.

More than 18% of the added sugar consumed in the American diet is found in desserts made of grains and dairy, such as cakes, pies, doughnuts, and ice cream.

Try these substitutes if you want something with less added sugar that still tastes good:

  1. Fresh fruit
  2. Greek yogurt with cinnamon or fruit
  3. Baked fruit with cream
  4. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)

Is eating whole fruit a benefit? Fresh or baked fruit can replace treats that are high in sugar, helping you consume less sugar while consuming more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

3. Keep away from sauces with added sugar.

In most kitchens, sauces like ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, and sweet chili sauce are typical. The majority of people, however, are unaware of their sugar levels.

Ketchup includes around 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of sugar for every 1-tablespoon (17-gram) consumption. With whopping 29% sugar content, ketchup is sweeter than ice cream.

To reduce the number of sugars that is concealed in condiments and sauces, look for goods that are marked "no added sugar."

Other seasoning possibilities that are naturally low in added sugars include herbs and spices, chile, mustard, vinegar, pesto, mayonnaise, and lemon or lime juice.

4. Consume full-fat foods.

There are low-fat versions of all of your favorite foods, including salad dressing, yogurt, and peanut butter.

It could feel natural to choose this low-fat option over the full-fat ones if you’ve been told that fat is bad, especially if you're attempting to lose weight.

The disconcerting reality is that they typically include more sugar and occasionally more calories than their full-fat equivalents.

For instance, a serving of low-fat vanilla yogurt measuring 6 ounces (170 grams) has 144 calories and 24 grams of sugar.

Only 8 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar and 104 calories are present in the same amount of full-fat plain yogurt.

High sugar consumption has also been linked to weight gain, which defeats the purpose of choosing a low-fat dish in the first place.

It's frequently preferable to pick full-fat items when attempting to reduce your sugar intake. However, study the ingredient list carefully so you can choose wisely.

5. Eat natural foods

No processing or refinement has been done to whole foods. Additionally, they don't include any additives or other artificial ingredients. Whole fruits, legumes, whole grains, veggies, and meat with bone are some examples of these foods.

Ultra-processed foods are at the other end of the spectrum. It can be challenging to limit your intake of these prepared foods because they often contain salt, sugar, fat, and chemicals in combinations that are designed to taste fantastic.

Soft drinks, sugar-sweetened cereals, chips, and fast food are a few examples of ultra-processed foods.

The average American diet contains almost 90% of added sugars from ultra-processed foods, compared to only 8.7% from dishes made at home from scratch using real foods.

To avoid additional sugars, try to prepare from scratch whenever you can. You don't have to prepare fancy dishes. You may get great outcomes with straightforward cooking methods like marinating meats and roasting veggies.

6. Verify canned foods for sugar.

Although adding canned foods to your diet might be convenient and affordable, they sometimes include a lot of added sugar.

Naturally occurring sugars are present in fruits and vegetables. But since they don't have the same negative effects on blood sugar that added sugar does, these typically aren't a problem.

Don't eat anything from a can that is packed in syrup or has sugar listed as an ingredient. Choose fruit that is "packed in water" or "no added sugar" because it will be sweet enough on its own.

If you purchase fruits or vegetables in cans that do have added sugar, you can get rid of some of them by giving them a good rinse in water before eating.

7. Use caution when consuming packaged, "healthy" snacks.

There is a "health halo" surrounding some processed snack items. They appear healthy at first appearance, and their marketing may utilize terms like "wholesome" or "natural" to make them appear more beneficial than they actually are.

Unexpectedly, several of these snacks—like granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit—can have an equal amount of sugar in them as chocolate and candy bars.

Dried fruit is a prime illustration. Fiber, minerals, and antioxidants are abundant in it. You should moderate your intake to avoid overindulging because it also includes high amounts of natural sugar (and some forms may be "candied" with additional added sugar).

Here are some ideas for nutritious, low-sugar snacks:

  1. Nuts and seeds
  2. No-sugar-added jerky
  3. Hard-boiled eggs
  4. Fresh fruit

8. Avoid eating sweet breakfast items

Some breakfast cereals may be heavily sweetened. According to one study, some of the most popular ones had added sugar making up more than half of their weight.

One cereal in the study had more than 12 teaspoons (50 grams) of sugar per serving, or 88% of its weight, according to the paper.

Additionally, the study discovered that granola, which is typically promoted as a healthy snack, typically has more sugar per serving than any other kind of cereal.

Jams, muffins, waffles, and other everyday breakfast items are also incredibly sweetened.

Try these low-sugar breakfasts in place of those sugary ones and reserve them for rare occasions:

  1. Oatmeal sweetened with fresh fruit
  2. Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
  3. Egg scramble with cheese and veggies
  4. Avocado on whole grain toa

You'll stay satisfied until midday if you choose a low-sugar breakfast with a lot of protein and fiber, which will help you avoid mindless snacking.

9. Examine labels

Consuming less sugar requires more effort than simply avoiding sweet meals. You've already seen that it may be found in odd foods like granola and ketchup.

Thankfully, added sugars must now be disclosed on product labels by food manufacturers. On items that contain them, added sugars are mentioned under total carbohydrates.

As an alternative, you might look for sugar on the ingredient list. Since ingredients are presented from the highest amount to the lowest amount utilized by weight, the more sugar is included in an item, the higher up the ingredient list it appears.

On food labels, added sugar is listed under more than 50 different titles, making it more challenging to identify. Here are a few of the most widespread:

  1. High fructose corn syrup
  2. Cane sugar or cane juice
  3. Maltose
  4. Dextrose
  5. Invert sugar
  6. Rice syrup
  7. Molasses
  8. Caramel

10. Give more protein a shot.

Weight gain and increased appetite have both been linked to high sugar intake. In contrast, a diet low in added sugar and high in protein and fiber can have the opposite result—it might make you feel fuller and less hungry.

The immediate reduction of food cravings by protein has also been demonstrated. According to one study, consuming 25% more protein in the diet resulted in a 60% decrease in cravings.

Stock up on protein-rich whole foods like meat, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy products, avocados, and almonds to squelch your sugar cravings.

11. Use natural, calorie-free sweeteners.

Sucralose and aspartame are two examples of artificial sweeteners that are completely devoid of calories and sugar.

However, it's possible that these artificial sweeteners cause gut bacterial imbalances that worsen blood sugar regulation, boost food cravings, and cause weight gain. It might be wise to stay away from artificial sweeteners as a result.

Other natural sugar substitutes with no calories also seem promising. These include allulose, monk fruit, erythritol, and stevia.

Although they undergo some processing before they reach your neighborhood grocery shop, they are all naturally derived. These sugar substitutes are still the subject of continuing study.

12. Keep products with a lot of sugar out of the house.

You could be more prone to consume high-sugar items if you have them around the house. If all it takes to obtain a sugar rush is a trip to the refrigerator or pantry, it takes a lot of discipline to stop yourself.

It might be challenging to keep certain foods out of the house if you live with others, so you might want to have a strategy for when sugar cravings occur. Studies have demonstrated that distractions, such as solving puzzles, can significantly lessen cravings.

13. Get enough sleeping

Your health depends greatly on your sleeping patterns. Obesity and impaired immunological function have all been related to sleep deprivation, along with depression and poor attention.

Lack of sleep, however, may also influence the kinds of foods you choose to consume, predisposing you to decisions that are higher in sugar, fat, salt, and calories.

According to one study, persons who stayed up late and didn't get a full night's sleep consumed more calories, fast food, soda, veggies, and fruits than those who went to bed earlier did.

If it doesn't help, try keeping some low-sugar, healthful snacks around the house for munching on.

In addition, a recent observational study found that postmenopausal women with larger consumption of added sugar had a higher incidence of sleeplessness (41Trusted Source).

Getting more rest may help you regain some control if you're having trouble stopping yourself from choosing foods that are heavy in sugar.

The conclusion

The majority of Americans consume much too much added sugar.

A diet heavy in added sugar can be detrimental and is linked to several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

You should be mindful of the hidden sugar in several other typical meals, such as sauces, low-fat foods, and processed snacks, in addition to limiting obvious sources of sugar in your diet like sweets and beverages.

Opt for a diet centered on real foods rather than heavily processed alternatives if you want complete control over how much-added sugar you consume.


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