Sugar can be a touchy subject when it comes to healthy eating and maintaining overall wellness. According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar daily while men should aim for less than nine teaspoons.
But the truth is we eat far too much sugar every day than the suggested daily dietary allowance. There's just too much added sugar to our food and beverages today particularly in packaged food items, and yes, even savory products.
The added sugar in the average American diet only provides empty calories that do not benefit our body in any way. Yet, we tend to consume calorically empty foods day in and day out so much so that our bodies do not get the adequate nutrients it needs to be healthy.
In turn, our brain tells our body that it needs more nutrients which leads us to eat more and more. This contributes to our national health issues like obesity and diabetes. If we are to solve this problem, we have to be more mindful about the amount of sugar we put in our bodies day in and day out. Today, we’ll be going through simple and smart ways to reduce your sugar intake.
If you think cutting back your sugar intake is difficult then you’re in for a surprise. Below are simple yet smart things you can do that will significantly lower your sugar intake every day.
A majority of the sugar in our diet is hidden everyday food items we consume especially in the unlikeliest of places. This is why it's important to read food labels.
Breakfast cereals, tomato sauce, frozen entrees, canned soups and dressings, granola bars, fruit juice, and dried fruit all have added sugar in them and we don’t always know it.
Also, you should watch out for other names for sugar like:
You don’t always need sugar to sweeten your food. You can use fresh fruit like berries or bananas to your cold cereals. You can also use dried fruit like dates and raisins for oatmeal.
Alternatively, you can use natural sweeteners to add a touch of sweetness to your food. Stevia is a zero-calorie natural sweetener that can help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar among people with diabetes.
You can also use erythritol, a substance naturally found in fruit that doesn't cause a blood sugar spike. Another naturally occurring sweetener is xylitol which has similar benefits as erythritol.
Sometimes the smallest decisions can have a great impact on our overall health and wellness. When shopping for food, be mindful of the things you put in your cart. Steer clear of processed food and opt for whole foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, and lean meats.
Instead of getting sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks opt for low-sugar beverages. This includes water, sparkling water, herbal teas, and unsweetened coffee.
If you love dessert, don’t fret. You can simply swap your cakes, pies, doughnuts and ice cream for healthier options like Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, dark chocolate, baked fruit, and dates. This way, you also get the added benefit of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from these healthier alternatives.
Most importantly, cook more. Making your food from scratch instead of ordering takeout means you know exactly what goes into your every meal. And yes, even the amount of sugar you put into it.