How to Eat Less Sugar
1. Reduce the Obvious.
We are looking at you, cookies, cakes, muffins, ice cream, donuts, and all the sweet treats we often cave into amidst that pesky sweet tooth… Reduce sugar intake by simply reducing the obvious. Oh, and don’t forget to the scale back on the teaspoons of sugar you add to your oats or already sugary cereal…
2. Read Labels for the Less Obvious.
While sweet treats are obviously loaded with sugar, there are other foods that are not so apparent, and even perceived as healthy, including ketchup, salad dressings, pasta sauces, yogurts, and whole grain products. To verify whether or not sugar has in fact been added to the food product, take advantage of the Nutrition Facts and Ingredients labels. But equally as important, do food companies may use the ingredient to their advantage, spreading out various sugar types throughout the Ingredient list, including the any form that ends in “-ose” (such as fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and xylose), honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, and high-fructose corn syrup.
3. Limit Artificial Sweeteners.
While sugar and artificial sweeteners are vastly different in chemical structure, the artificial type still tricks the body into believing sugar is present. And when the body senses sugar, it releases insulin and may send the body into a fat storage mode and encourage weight gain. Artificial sweeteners can also naturally increase cravings towards sugars and carbohydrates and bare psychological consequences related to compensatory rationales. Think about it: When drinking diet over regular soda, you are saving on calories. But if saving on liquid calories, you may feel more endowed to justify an extra slice of pizza. Compared to compared to a 140-calorie soda, a slice of pizza can provide hundreds of calories, which may be causing individuals to overeating calories when they believe they are saving calories by using a zero- to low-calorie artificial sweetener.
4. Add, Not Subtract.
Taking away foods can just heighten their temptation. So rather than subtracting foods from the diet, incorporate and add more satiating healthy fats, fiber sources, and animal and plant-based proteins! The natural sugars in fruits can also deter that pesky sweet tooth, along with preventing you with nutrients the body appreciates.
5. Break Routine.
While we may not always like to admit it, we are oftentimes creatures of habit. That means maybe we are accustomed to ordering dessert after dinner. Or perhaps we suck down that sugary Frappucino on our way to work each morning. That being said, oftentimes our sugar habit is simply just that… A habit. Switch up and break out of regular routine, as you may find it easier to let go of your sugary patterns. For instance, rather than eating out regularly, cook at home and enjoy a fresh fruit parfait after dinner. And if you hit up the coffee shop each morning, prepare a healthier alternative at home. Not only will doing so save you on sugar, but keep money in your pocket!
6. Stay Productive.
Eating that package of cookies out of boredom? Yes, cravings can arise based on bouts of boredom, so rather than filling the time with adventures in the kitchen, stay productive by calling a friend, playing a game, or dancing to music to distract the mind from succumbing to boredom-based cravings.
7. Reconstruct the Pantry.
Rather than stocking up on Retrain your brain to appreciate a pantry fully stocked with fresh, wholesome foods! Reconstructing the pantry also lessens the risk of binging on innutritious, packaged products loaded with less-than-desirable ingredients. And while a cookie can be enjoyed every now and then, it is important to know your own food triggers. If reaching for one cookie turns into devouring the whole package, avoid bringing them into the house or purchase an individually-sized portion.
8. Enjoy that Donut.
Yes, you read that right… But we mean actually enjoy it. Donut simply scarf it down, but rather bring your awareness to the entire body prior to eating, using the senses to enjoy the food at hand, and recognizing personal feelings throughout the entire dining experience. Also rid of all distractions, including sitting down without electronics, and focusing most attention on the meal and members who may also be surrounding the dining table. Ultimately, the desire for a sweet treat can be magnified if firm restrictions are set into place, subsequently increasing the likelihood of a binge in the near future. So rather than completely placing sugar off-limits, give in a little and practice quality over quantity by sensibly enjoying that sweet treat you relish.