It is a pretty well-known fact that sugar contributes to many health issues. Aside from the obvious (diabetes), sugar foods can impact your heart health, your weight, your energy, and even your mood.
Let’s face it, even though it can taste so good (especially in a favorite dessert) it is just bad for you.
Unfortunately, as society has increased its pace it has become more common for people to grab food that can be eaten on the run. This has greatly increased the sugar intake for many people.
And why is that?
Because many processed foods are filled with sugars! Even the foods you wouldn’t think twice about also contain more sugar than you can imagine.
Here are some examples (I’m not going to name names, but you can check the labels for yourself):
Jar spaghetti sauce – 18 grams of sugar per cup of sauce
Low-fat yogurt (plain) – up to 18 grams of sugar per container
Canned baked beans – 28 grams of sugar per cup
Tomato soup (full can) – 36 grams of sugar
Just for comparison, a 12-oz can of cola (brand name) contains about 39 grams of sugar.
And, by the way, the recommended daily allowance is approximately a maximum of 24 grams a day.
You can see how difficult it is to cut sugar out of your diet, because even if you think you’re eating better, there may be hidden added sugars that are sabotaging you.
Ask pretty much anyone who has tried to diet, and they will probably tell you their own realizations about foods and added sugars. I know I was surprised at some of the foods I thought would be okay (but weren’t).
Fortunately, I have fought my way through, and I’m now going to share with you how I kicked sugar to the curb.
I cannot stress this one enough. Take the time to read the labels of any foods you buy. Look for the added sugars (usually in the second column of a two-column label). By doing this and then simply omitting those foods, your sugar intake can be drastically reduced, which is a good first step.
It may not be feasible for you to completely stop eating a certain food. If there are foods that you just must have, compare brands and see which ones have the least amount of sugar, then switch to those.
This means making sure that you have enough quality protein and good types of fat to help you stay satiated. Sugar cravings often appear when your blood sugar is off balance. Makes sense, right? So, keeping the body satisfied with nutritious calories can help keep your blood sugar in check
While we are at it, make sure you are eating enough of the good stuff as well. A major mistake that dieters make is just eating less. Even if what you do eat is healthier, this is another sure way to throw your blood sugar out of whack.
When you’re hungry, you’ll want to grab for anything that will satisfy that urge…and that can often mean sugar-laden foods. Check with your doctor to determine your proper caloric intake, and then make sure you are meeting it with nutrient-rich foods.
As I mentioned in the food list above, added sugars appear in many foods and they’re usually added to improve the taste. Using other spices to flavor food can make any meal tasty and (done right) virtually sugar free!
For example, I mentioned jar spaghetti sauce. I know that’s a quick and easy meal for many families. But if you can find crushed tomatoes with no added sugars and then season the sauce yourself with basil, oregano, garlic, etc., you can have a quick and flavorful sauce that contains only the natural sugars found in tomatoes. You can also make a big batch then freeze it for future meals.
Cinnamon, ginger, and anise are also good alternatives to flavor food.
If you find yourself still struggling with letting go of sugar, consider doing it in steps instead of cold turkey. So, if you absolutely need your chocolate fix, measure out a portion of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of eating a whole candy bar.
And if you need to indulge in that favorite dessert as I mentioned earlier, look for local bakeries or alternative recipes (if you have the time) that only contain the natural sugars or minimal added sugars instead of the sugar bombs that you can buy in the store.
Sugars are hidden everywhere in just about any food you can imagine. The key to kicking your sugar habit is to get rid of the obvious culprits like soda and processed foods, then read the labels of other foods, choosing ones that have the lowest number of added sugars.
Obviously, you would ideally cut out all added sugars, but that just may not be possible…and that’s okay. Start cutting where you can, flavor your food with other seasonings, and find alternatives for favorites you just can’t get rid of. Take these steps and kick sugar to the curb!
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