Cutting sugar from your diet may see like a daunting task but you can make some small changes that can have big health benefits. Eating too much sugar can lead to many health issues such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Many foods have a lot of added sugar. Pick up most prepackaged food and you will see the amount of added sugar. Also glance at the ingredients label and see where sugar falls in the list. The closer to the beginning of the list, the more of that ingredient in the product. With that being said, how can you start to cut down the amount of sugar in your diet?
1. Most recipes for baked goods call for way more sugar than necessary. I always recommend cutting sugar in the recipe by 25% and then as you get more used to the decrease sweetness, cutting it closer to 50%. I know that sounds like a lot but most recipes call for MUCH more sugar than needed to be sweet.
2. Use a “healthy” sugar substitute. My favorite no sugar sweetener is Monk Fruit. It has zero calories and zero on the glycemic index (the effect it has a blood sugar, the lower the number the better). This can be substituted 1:1 which makes it even easier to use. This is available in “regular”, “golden” (for brown sugar”, and powdered.
3. Aim to eat more “real food”. When I think of real food, I look for food that was grown or is an animal product. Fruits, vegetables, and lean meat have no added sugar. Although fruit can have a lot of natural sugar, cutting out the processed food with loads of added sugar will be a great step in the right direction. This is always a good rule of thumb for all healthy eating in general. If it comes in a box/bag you may want to skip it.
4. Read labels. I know labels can often be confusing and overwhelming but lets start small. Look at the grams of sugar in an item. Often granola bars or other snacks touted as “healthy” often have as much sugar and a dessert item. For prepackaged granola bars, I try to aim for 8 grams or less per bar. This is my personal preference. That is often a challenge but I’ve been doing it for a while and have a few go-to’s that we buy. I look at the label every time before I buy a new type. I put MANY back on the shelf if they have too much sugar. It’s ok to do that, don’t get frustrated, most granola bars are more like candy bars disguised as healthy. This is just one example. Many food items have a lot of added sugar. Food such as cereal, fruit snacks, condiments (I bet you didn’t think of that one), pasta sauces, the list goes on and on. Just glance at the label for grams of sugar and check the ingredients.
These are just a few ways to begin your journey to cutting back on sugar. Let me know your tips in the comments!