5 Ways to Reduce Your Intake of Sugar
Start Living a Healthier New You
By: Robert Eilers | NightOwl.FIT Community | January 2nd 2018
Every year gyms are flooded with the influx of New Years Resolution makers determined above all things to get back in shape. I see it happen every year. Gym membership increases, machine availability decreases. Drive by any local gym and you can always see the parking lot fill up in January and perhaps into February. But after a few months those same determined people usually fade out and and things go back to normal. Perhaps a few manage to make it past the two month mark but unfortunately it is just too much for some.
Resolutions are great as we use the New Year as a metaphorical fresh start. The reality is though most people fade out because they fail to set themselves realistic goals, or they simply don’t know how to start and go in blind. Worse yet some go in so hard they end up either injuring themselves or they burn out.
When I talk to most people about where to start with the New Years goal, or any goal to be healthier at any time, I usually tell them it starts with diet. Yes, being active plays a role in it and I wish more people made more of an effort to be active. But in reality being healthier starts in the kitchen. A couple weeks back I posted an article dismantling the “fat makes you fat myth.” If you are interested you can go check it out. In it, I discuss one of the main culprits that are wreaking havoc on most diets, sugar.
So this year, for a fresh start, or continuation of a healthy lifestyle, I want to help you learn to curb the ever addictive and gut expanding, sugar consumption. These simple five steps will get you started on consuming less sugar. And if you set yourself a realistic goal of just 30 days. You will find it easier to go without. And in a short time start seeing the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Sugar Consumption Stats:
- The average American consumes at least 64 pounds of sugar per year and the average teenage boy at least 109 pounds.
- Per capita consumption of added sugars has risen by 28 percent since 1983.
- Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day, teens 34 teaspoons.
Check the Labels for Added Sugar Content
Reading the labels is hands down one of the best things you can start doing. Not just so you can curb your sugar intake, but so you can also understand what is going into your body. I find it amazing that many people don’t actually pay attention to what is in the food they are consuming. Or better yet they simply don’t care. Food companies spend millions of dollars to get you to buy their products and put misleading information on their labels. The ingredient list is one place that is hard to lie about. Something can claim to be organic, but then contain “Natural Ingredients” which is almost never natural. Or cereal that is fortified with added vitamins, but is still loaded with sugar, preservatives, and other added ingredients that are destroying your health.
Read the labels.
Sugar masquerades under a variety of guises, such as dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, invert sugar and maltose. That’s because the FDA has refused to add an “Added Sugars” line (in grams) within the “Sugars” section on the nutrition facts label. Thank you sugar lobby.
corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, malt syrup.
Cut Out Artificial Sweeteners.
The end result of cutting back on sugar is being able to reset your taste buds. It allows us to more easily taste the natural sweeteners in food, without all the added calories. Sugar is addictive. And I don’t mean addictive in that way that people talk about delicious foods. I mean addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs. And the food industry is doing everything it can to keep us hooked.
These fake sweeteners cause symptoms that range from headaches and migraines to weight gain and even more serious conditions like cardiovascular disease.Start by cutting out some of the main culprits now.
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe)
- Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin)
- Xylitol, Sorbitol
Add More Fat and Cut Out Fat-Free Foods
One of the first things people do when they start a diet is looking for fat-free alternatives, or perhaps more recently they gluten-free craze. The problem is that when food companies cut out fat they usually add more sugar. Because, well, fat tastes good. Fat fills you up, turns off your hunger hormones, and satiates you in a way that sugar cannot. Be sure to check out my post on fats and oils for the best way to add fat back into your diet.
For those that love the smoothie option adding in fat options like chia seeds, hemp seeds, or even half of an avocado to replace the added sugar.
Avoid Juice and Drink More Tea
Cut out juice, immediately. A couple years back the best way it was explained to me is that when you drink one cup of juice you are basically eating over 4 pieces of whole fruit or more. Would you sit down and eat 4 oranges at a time? Could you? The reality is fruit on its own contains natural sweeteners that by themselves can be very satiating. So skip the glass of juice and opt for the whole food option instead.
Often, eating sugar can be more of a sign of boredom than anything else. Having something else to do with your mouth can be a great way to prevent mindless snacking. Sparkling water with a dash of bitters is a great way to entertain your mouth (and boost digestion!), and teas come in a ton of different flavors sure to keep you from getting bored. If you always have a cup at hand, you’ll always be too occupied to reach for a snack.
Learn to Plan Your Meals
I have found over the years the easiest way to cut out sugar, and to just be healthier overall, is to plan my meals in advance. It might seem tedious, almost boring sometimes, but if you sit down and plan out a month worth of meals then you only have to do it once. I currently over a meal plan in the store if you are instead, but you have many options available to help with your meal planning. What I like to do to make it easier is to plan out the same breakfast and lunch for a week, then create three or four meal choices and then consume the same meal a couple days in a row for dinner. Then each week I vary all of the meals. This helps me to know exactly what I am putting into my body. And to avoid sugar pitfalls.
The easiest way to break your sugar addiction is to know when you’re actually consuming the stuff. Even food that looks healthy and organic can pack a whopping amount of sugar. But your body will thank you for it. Try it for 30 days and be sure to come back and check out more articles. Happy New Year everyone!