Cutting Back on Sugar by Ceileigh McKersie
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are important as they give you energy. However eating too much sugar can be detrimental to your health. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave sugar. Even if you don’t have health problems or weight problems, cutting sugar is a good way to improve your overall health. Avoiding sugar can help lower your chances of being diagnosed with diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity etc.
Sugar is found naturally in most foods such as fruit and dairy. These natural sugars are good for us, it is the refined sugars that need to be eliminated from one’s diet, such as soft drinks, ice cream, cakes, biscuits, fruit juices, chocolate, pastries and dried fruit.
The more processed a food is the more likely it is to be high in refined sugars. If you are unsure about the sugar content of a certain food, read the label. If there is a mention of sucrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sugar cane, maltose, raw sugar, malt extract or molasses, it contains sugar. These are all fancy names for different types of sweeteners (sugar). Try to choose foods which have less than 5g of sugar per 100g.
Here are a few ways to help you cut sugar from your diet but still enjoy your meals:
1. Cut out coke, fruit juice and any sweetened drink completely. All of these drinks contain huge amounts of sugar. Cutting out sweetened beverages alone can reduce your sugar intake drastically.
2. Avoid all processed food. Choose raw, natural food products. Sugar is added to almost all processed meals or products to help improve the taste. Rather than buying these foods, make your own healthy alternatives such as:
• Add vanilla to your coffee rather than sugar.
• Chose sweet potato over normal potato if you are craving a sweet starchy food.
• Add fruit to plain yoghurt to add some sweetness to it rather than adding sugar.
• Add fresh fruit to your oats and bran flakes rather than sugar.
• Freeze low fat yoghurt and serve with fruit instead of ice cream.
3. Watch out for condiments, salad dressings and dips. All of these are high in sugar, even tomato sauce.
4. Avoid dried fruit. Dried fruit is very high in sugar. Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
5. Substitute sugar for naturally sweet fruit such as mangoes, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple and bananas.
6. Swap sugar for spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. All of these pieces are highly beneficial for your body and taste great added to most meals.
7. Do not skip breakfast, ever! Eat breakfast within 40 minutes of waking up to get your metabolism going and to help prevent binge eating later in the morning. Try increasing your intake of protein at all meals. We tend to crave sugary foods when we are tired or really hungry. Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and will prevent energy slumps after meals.
8. Prepare your meals in advance to avoid temptations.Low carb (less refined) snacks are make – they just involve a little planning ahead such as taking nuts, seeds, yoghurt, tuna or fruit to work to snack on.
9. Drink as much water as possible throughout the day. The more hydrated you are the less likely you are to crave something sweet later in the day.
10. When you feel tired do some exercise. The more exercise you do the more energy you will have and the less sugar you will crave.
These are just a few ways to help you cut back on your sugar intake. Good luck!
Nutritional Advisor and Life Coach.
BA, PGCE, DipNH (NH Inst.), DipLC (LC Inst.)