You may be eating a lot more sugar than you think. Sure you expect pastries to taste sweet, but added sugar is hidden in foods that you wouldn’t think would have sugar, such as sauces, breads and condiments.
Most likely you are eating about twice the amount of added sugar recommended by the American Heart Association. They recommend 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day maximum. Most of us eat twice that amount and don’t even know it. A diet high in sugar causes tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes and weight gain. So how can you cut down on sugar intake?
The easiest way for packaged products is to look for sugar in the nutritional information. It will tell you how many grams of sugar each serving has in it.
Learn sugar aliases
Sugar is called many things on nutrition labels. High fructose corn syrup, dried cane sugar, invert sugar, molasses and sucrose are just a few of the names you’ll find. Anything ending in “-ose” is a sugar.
Look for foods that advertise themselves as unsweetened or “no sugar added”. But you still have to read the label as it might contain an artificial sweetener. Some of that stuff is worse for you than real sugar. If you buy canned fruit, buy “packed in its own juices” and not “in syrup”.
Gradually cut down on sugar
Sugar is addictive, so if you try to ditch it cold turkey, your craving for it will win out and you’ll be right back where you started. Instead, slowly wean yourself off of it with an eventual goal of getting off of it altogether (or at least reduced down to a minimum). For example, if you normally use two packets of sugar in your coffee, use just one instead.
Eat more protein
Many of the foods containing carbohydrates are also loaded with sugar. So think proteins instead. Protein helps stabilize out blood sugar spikes by slowing down the release of sugar into your blood stream. Besides, fiber fills you up so you are less likely to grab a carbohydrate snack later on that is loaded with sugar.
Avoid artificial sweeteners
While it may seem like a good idea, if you are trying to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat, don’t switch to foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners. What happens when you eat or drink something sweetened artificially, your body thinks it is real sugar and therefore expects the calories and nutrition associated with sugar, but it doesn’t get it. In the short term, it increases your appetite and in the end, you gain weight.
Kicking the sugar habit is not easy. But by using the information in this article, it can help you slay the sugar beast (or at least help you recognize when sugar is present and reduce the amount of it you eat).