I don’t have to tell you that too much sugar isn’t all that great for your overall well being.
As humans our bodies are hardwired to eat and crave sugar. True story.
Sugar is a powerful food. Some might call it a drug.
However you view sugar, tackling the process of getting most or all of it out of your life can feel daunting.
Here are 5 things you can do to ease excess sugar out of your diet:
Sugar is in everything. Even in things you’d never imagine.
Salad dressings, yogurt, pasta sauce, peanut butter, canned soup, marinades, pre-made sauces, condiments, even bread.
The most important step in easing sugar out of your diet is being aware of where sugar is lurking.
Here’s the sneaky part. Reading some food labels might be straight forward. Meaning, you read the label and you see the word sugar in the list. Yup, there’s added sugar in there.
Most food labels aren’t that straight forward. Sugar comes in many different forms and has many different names.
When you’re reading labels be on the lookout for these other names of sugar:
High-fructose corn syrup(HFCS)
This is just to name a few.
Something important to note is that sugars from natural sources (ie. honey and maple syrup) are good alternatives to table sugar. BUT, sugar is sugar.
My philosophy is that it doesn’t matter what the source of the sugar is, it still needs to be counted as added sugar.
2.Sweeten foods yourself
The trick to this one is again, awareness. What are you eating that has added sugar that isn’t necessary.
Good places to start are yogurt, coffee, and oatmeal.
Yogurt is a great food for your gut, but many flavored brands have up to 36 grams of sugar per container. That’s 12 teaspoons of sugar!
Instead of buying a flavored container of yogurt, go for plain full-fat yogurt. Add 1-3 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. A dash of vanilla helps too. A sprinkling of berries is another good idea.
Coffee and tea are other places that you can easily swap out your own sweetener.
If you get your coffee or tea from a coffee shop, get a plain brewed cup and add your own stevia to it. They also have packets of honey that you can use too. Don’t go crazy with the honey, but one or so will do ya.
Skip the fancy coffees and espresso drinks like mochas and caramel drinks because a medium has 44 grams and 35 grams of sugar respectively. That’s 15 and 12 grams of sugar for each drink. Wowzers.
You’re in the same boat with packets of oatmeal. The flavored packets have 12 grams or more of sugar. That’s 4 grams or more in one packet.
Instead make your own oatmeal at home and sweeten it with berries, apples, cinnamon, vanilla, or a teaspoon or two of honey or maple syrup.
When I say “eat smart” I’m referring to a proven formula that will help reduce sugar cravings and balance your blood sugar.
The “Eat Smart” formula is: Protein+Vegetables/Fiber+Fat (PFF)
The simple formula can be translated into portions on a plate.
Aim for ¼ of your plate protein, ¼ of your plate starchy vegetable or grain, and half your plate low- glycemic vegetables. Include 1-2 servings (thumb lengths, or 1-2 tablespoons) of healthy fat too!
This smart formula will quiet your hunger hormones, reduce your cravings, and help you get your blood sugar under control.
4.Ditch the Sugar Filled Drinks
Water isn’t the drink of choice for many people.
Do you drink soda, energy drinks, or flavored waters? There’s ways to swap out these drinks so that you’re not getting bombarded with sugar but are still getting something that tastes more exciting than plain water.
If soda is your vice, go for sparkling water.
Jazz up water plain water or sparkling water with frozen fruit, citrus, or mint.
Herbal and green teas are good options too. Both are delicious hot or cold.
5.Go slow to go fast
If you have a tendency to be an overachiever then you’ll want to pay close attention to this one.
Cutting out all sugar at once is not advisable. In short, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and you’ll be extremely miserable at the same time.
To avoid either of those scenarios, do yourself a favor and go slow. Start with one area that you know you can stick with. Maybe that’s swapping out the muffin from the drive- through for a bowl of oatmeal you make at home. Or maybe it’s that afternoon soda you trade in for a sparkling water.
Whatever you choose, take baby steps. These small steps will lead to big changes over time.
It’s easy to feel like sugar has a hold over you like no other. I know because I spent most of my life feeling like this. I am a living and breathing example that there’s a different and healthier way to approach food that won’t have you thinking about where you’re going to get your next sugar fix all day long. My free resource The Ultimate Guide to End Sugar & Carb Cravings lays out a simple and approachable process.