Sugar remains the biggest roadblock to our fitness and weight loss goals.
The reason is simple—sugar is found in most foods we tend to eat. The metabolic high that we feel after consuming sugar is irresistible. Further, our dependence on processed or packaged foods makes it even more difficult to weed out sugar from our daily diet. However, the following tips will help you reduce your sugar intake in an undemanding, practical manner:
1. Stop Seeking the High Associated with Aerated Drinks
Even the creators of Coca Cola wouldn’t have imagined that people would get addicted to what is essentially a highly-sweetened beverage. Aerated drinks were never meant to become a part of our mainstream food habits. However, the hidden caffeine and loads of synthetic sugar in these drinks render a kind of high that most people cannot resist. A single can of Coke contains nearly 12 teaspoons sugar, making it a dieter’s sin. Ensure that you don’t depend upon regular sips of aerated beverages to feel energized. Instead, carry a shaker filled with homemade lemonade that contains lesser sugar. Drink more plain water throughout the day and choose sweeter fruits as snacks. These will help to cut down sugar cravings that are addressed by harmful, calorie-ridden aerated drinks.
2. Use Unadulterated/Natural/Organic Honey to Reduce Sugar Intake
Ways to cut down sugar have been doing the rounds of tabloids and lifestyle magazines for years. One of the most common recommendations found in these sources is using honey instead of sugar. However, supplementing sugar with synthetic or adulterated honey serves little good. Most brands of honey use a concoction of cheap sugarcane leftovers and other wholesale-rated carbohydrates sources that are blended to create a honey-like product. However, in terms of calories, these products do little good. They are essentially providing a different form of sugar, which is still synthetic and as harmful as table sugar. Thus, ensure you get the purer, organic or natural form of honey, hopefully with a minimal amount of bee’s wax, to keep-up the fiber content.
3. Beware of Packaged Breakfast Cereals
Sugar cravings hit most of us hard and in our desperation to find healthy, sweet replacement, we tend to overlook the most obvious sources of sugar. For instance, breakfast cereals, packaged with different flavors and advertised with cleverly masked advertisements have become famous. However, most folks don’t realize that breakfast cereals, including flavored cornflakes, are
coated with synthetic sugar. Eating them for breakfast ruins the entire effort of starting the day on a healthy note.
4. Cut Back on Foods Heavy on Condiments
Condiments include all types of jarred foods that have been processed for a longer shelf-life. This is achieved by adding lots of sugar and preservatives. In terms of nutritional value, condiments are useless but in terms of adding to the waistline, they are absolute champions. The most commonly-found food items in this group include sauces, ketchups, creamy whips and pureed food.
5. Opt for Fresh over Canned Fruits/Vegetables/Juices
Canned fruits are the biggest culprits in terms of misleading consumers with their emphasis on providing wholesome nutrition. Canned fruits are packed with a high amount of corn syrup or fructose that are essentially, different forms of sugar. This too for fruits that are usually sweet tasting in their natural form. Simply eat fresher and season fruits to remove such unwanted sugars from your diet. Similarly, Mayonnaise found in stores contains sugar for augmenting the taste and the preservation value. You can easily make fresh mayonnaise at home without sugar. Similarly, fruit juices sold in the packaged format contain unnecessary sugar. You can always have the entire fruit, including its healthy fiber content, or squeeze-out fresh juice at home.
6. Start Reading Nutrition Labels Thoroughly
Most unwanted sugars enter our body via the camouflaged, retail format. You need to become more aware and a smart shopper. Try to read the labels and if you cannot understand some ingredient, ask the retailer or Google the term. Processed foods of all types are usually high in sugar but often the sugar is hidden under different, industrial nomenclatures.
Alternative Ways to Conquer Sugar Cravings & Control Sugar Intake:
• Drink green tea that tends to act as an appetite-suppressor and mood booster
• Chew upon sugar-free chewing gum
• Chew upon fresh slices of coconut that are mildly sweet and keep the mouth busy
• Eat high fiber biscuits that help to avoid sugar levels from dipping, alarmingly, preventing sugar pangs
• Eat sweet fruits like peaches, apples and mangoes
• Keep one day of the week as sugar-free day where you don’t eat anything to which synthetic sugar has been added
• When feeling low, try a cup of hot tea or coffee rather than an aerated drink
The progression towards reducing you sugar intake needs to be slow, sustained and with some determination. It is a process, so be prepared for a few weeks of irritation to conquer your taste buds that have become accustomed to a sugar overload.