Hey Angels and Alphas,
Let’s be honest. There’s nothing wrong with going for an extra scoop of ice cream every so often or indulging in a craving every now and then. But the line between an extra scoop and too much is often very thin, and we all know too much sugar has detrimental effects on our health and our efforts to lose weight.
The FDA has recommended that people get no more than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from sugars – defined as the sugars added during the packaging and processing of food. This means honey, syrups, and juices with more than sugar than you’d otherwise expect of a 100% veggie/fruit juice.
Naturally occurring sugars that are contained in fruits, veggies, and dairy are rich in nutritional value, and they come with vital vitamins and nutrients. Not only that, but they contain fiber and protein that slow your digestion and make them a more reliable source of steady energy.
That’s why continuously finding new ways to swap added sugar for natural sugar is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and energy levels.
Let’s take a look at 10 ways you can do exactly that.
1. Let’s start with investigating your intake.
You have to start by figuring out how much sugar you’re consuming right now. The best way to do this is to start keeping a food diary or using an app to track your food
But even if you’re not the type of person to write everything down, you can do this for one week, and you’ll still get a sufficient statistical excerpt and will help you identify
your average sugar intake.
After that week, you should determine how much you are going to need to cut down on your sugar intake in order to stay under your daily limit.
2. Set your boundaries on sugar.
If some of your favorite foods are sugar bombs, such as cookies or chocolate, and they compel you to not stop eating when you start, you have to get real specific on
your limits. How often are you going to enjoy them? How are you going to stop yourself from reaching for more? A good way to handle this is to reserve your treats for special occasions, such as to reward yourself for a job well done.
3. Learn sugars by all its names.
Then, head to your pantries and shelves and grab anything with sugar in it. Check the nutrition labels on your favorite drinks and foods. Sugar is usually listed in there in a variety of names, including high fructose corn syrup, caramel, beet sugar,
dextrose, honey, cane syrup, turbinado, and many more. Even foods that usually sound good for you can take a toll on your weight loss efforts, such as granola and yogurt with “low fat” descriptions. They naturally use more sugar to maintain flavor.
4. Read all your nutrition labels carefully.
If you’re looking for granola, search for one that contains no more than 5 grams of added sugar per serving. Look for foods that are lightly sweet, contain healthy fats from nuts, or are packed with whole grains.
Make an effort to build the habit of compulsively checking nutrition labels. After all, you have to know what you’re putting in your body, be it for the purposes of tracking your intake, or to just make sure you’re not buying anything containing harmful ingredients.
5. If you want to sweeten your breakfast, use fruit and cinnamon.
Packaged cereal, yogurt, and granola often contain big (yet sneaky) amounts of sugar.
If you add sugar, maple syrup, or honey on top, that adds up very quickly if you’re not careful. That’s why you should go for plain yogurt topped with nuts, fresh fruits, cinnamon, or another healthy sweetener.
6. Always go for in-season fruit.
You know off- season produce isn’t nearly as tasty and delicious as in-season fruits and veggies. If you don’t believe me, try eating a blueberry in January.
They’re not only less sweet and don’t provide the same abundant healthy content, but they’re often less colorful and easy to spot.
Of course, what fruits are in season (as well as for how long) will depend largely on where you are in the world. If you want to make the right choice, ask the local vendors at the market about the best times to buy your favorite fruits and veggies.
7. Ignore high-sugar condiments.
While barbecue sauce, mustard, and ketchup are certainly delicious additions to any slice of Pizza, they’re most often packed with added sugar and sweeteners.
Some brands even sell condiments sweetened with fruit extracts or date paste, but even these supposedly healthier versions are devoid of healthy sugar and fiber.
That’s why you should limit high-sugar condiments and stop using mustard, pesto, or even olive oil mayonnaise. Focus on ones that potentially contain healthy fats and increase the number of vitamins your body absorbs every meal.
8. Decrease your portion sizes.
Even though this sounds painful, you’ll quickly find that mindful enjoyment of sweet foods can easily fit into a healthy weight management plan… however, the key remains in portion control.
Instead of buying a big box of your favorite chocolate or a pint of ice cream, you can focus your attention on single-serving desserts.
This way, you’ll have to consciously decide whether to open another one or put another one on your plate. This makes it harder to submit to your cravings, whereas it’s much easier to keep munching on a larger portion.
9. Cut down your grocery list a bit.
It’s much easier to say “no” once when you’re in the grocery aisle in the store than it is to say “no” a dozen times when sweets and snacks are already in your cupboard.
If there are certain drinks and foods that you struggle to portion control, consider just skipping them altogether in your grocery list and not buying them.
10. Get enough sleep!
If you make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night and you’re not just relying on caffeine to boost you up, you’ll have a much easier time managing cravings.
The evidence that people who get less than 8 hours of sleep consume more sugary snacks and treats is piling and piling study after study, and research all links back to less sleep = more sugar.
The next time you’re wondering whether to binge another episode of your favorite show or go to bed, the latter option will likely be a better choice for your weight.