Decrease Sugar Intake

From Halloween candy to your favorite Christmas cookies, once fall hits it seems as though the sugary treat temptations increase.  On average, Americans consume 71g of sugar each day (the recommended limit is 25g for men and 38g for men).

Cutting back on sugar can be tough but we have some fool-proof tips to help you decrease your sugar intake.

Don’t Drink your Sugar 

Sugary drinks don’t just apply to sodas. Specialty coffee drinks, wine, beer, fruit juices, pre-made fruit smoothies and sports drinks. These drinks contain heaps up sugar that are consumed in a very short amount of time. 

Here are some some lower-sugar swaps
  • Sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime
  • Fruit infused water
  • Fruit or Herbal teas
  • Unsweetened Teas and Coffee

Along with decreased sugar intake, these swaps will keep you more hydrated, help to reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

Not too Saucy

Sugar hides and it’s good at it. Condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, light or fat-free dressings, dipping and other cooking sauces are high up there on the sugar scale. While these condiments seem harmless, the sugar will certainly add up. Before you slather those condiments take a look at the ingredients list. If sugar is one of the first ingredients listed…steer clear. There are so many great, flavorful alternatives that aren’t loaded with sugar

Try some of these yummy alternatives :
  • Herbs and spices
  • Fresh Chili
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Vinegar
  • Homemade Pico de gallo or salsa

Ditch processed, stick to whole foods

70% of calories from added sugars that Americans consume come from processed foods.  While that number is staggering, it’s not too surprising considering how much processed foods Americans consume. There are levels to processed foods.- minimally processed, standard processed and ultra-processed. Standard processed foods include staples such as breads and cheeses. Ultra processed foods are the foods that have additives, emulsifiers and artificial colors/flavors. (chips, soft drinks, cereals, chocolate/candies, etc.) 

Ways to cut down on ultra-processed foods 
  • Cook more often with fresh ingredients and homemade sauces/seasonings.
  • Read those labels – if you see an ingredient on the list you wouldn’t find in a standard kitchen, don’t eat it. 
  • Don’t be fooled by flashy marketing – “healthy,” “organic,” “natural,” are all buzzwords that may not carry much weight. Look beyond those words and know what actually is inside that package. 

Have mindful Mornings 

There are a lot of popular breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, muffins, cereals, jams) that are packed with added sugar. While enjoying these treats in moderation is not detrimental, be mindful of how it sets you up for the rest of your day. You are more likely to overindulge with added sugar throughout the day if that is the first thing you fuel your morning with. Set the standard for the day with your first meal. 

Here are some wholesome breakfast ideas 
  • Oats – consume them hot or make overnight oats. It a great way to fuel your morning and keep you feeling satisfied. 
  • Plain Greek Yogurt – add in some fruit and nuts/seeds for an extra punch of healthy fats and natural sugars 
  • Eggs – They are versatile and provide healthy fats + protein. Switch up how you prepare them to keep variety in your breakfast
  • Avocado – Avocado toast, breakfast tacos..the possibilities are endless for this nutrient packed source of energy 

Choose Full-Fat

Low-fat options of popular foods such as peanut butter, yogurt, milk, cheese and dressing are all around, but are they really the best option? Monitoring fat intake is important but these low-fat options are deceiving. Typically, low-fat versions contain more sugar and sometimes more calories than their full-fat counterpart. Although “low-fat” options are targeted towards those looking to lose weight, it has been shown to cause weight gain because of overeating the “low-fat” alternatives.

Let’s look at some comparisons:

Low-fat vanilla yogurt – 96 calories, 16g sugar 
Full-fat plain greek yogurt – 69 calories, 5g sugar

Low-fat vanilla Ice cream – 17g sugar 
Full-fat vanilla ice cream – 14g sugar 

Low-fat granola – 16g sugar
Full fat Granola – 8g sugar

So before you go for the non-fat version, decide if the difference if fat content and overall caloric content is worth the additives and extra sugar

It’s no doubt sugar is all around us. If we stick to naturally-occurring sugars and limit the amount of added sugars, our health and well-being will benefit. The sugary-treats are tempting but they are closely linked to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. What’s more eye opening is how we end up consuming the extra sugar. it’s not the “unhealthy” treats that are the culprits (we know those contain added sugars). It is the seemingly “healthy” or “better” choices that can sneak extra sugar into our diets.

Be mindful, be aware and enjoy in moderation

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