Here, we highlight 5 simple hacks for reducing your sugar intake.
It’s no secret there are many reasons to give up sugar. That said, reasons are useless without practical (read: easy) tips of putting into action what they preach. Here, we highlight 5 simple hacks for reducing your sugar intake.
Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
We know, we know: You’ve heard this one before. Still, did you know that sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit drinks contribute an astounding 44% of the added sugar in the diet of Americans?
Since your body does not recognize calories from drinks in the same way it does from food, beverages don’t make you feel as full. Meaning, that people who consume lots of calories from drinks do not eat less to compensate.
Instead of grabbing that soda or smoothie next time, opt for water, herbal or fruit tea, or tea and coffee. Pro tip: When it comes to coffee, stick to black or flat white.
Avoid Sauces that are Jam-Packed with Sugar
Turns out, most people aren’t aware of the shocking sugar content of sauces like ketchup, BBQ, and sweet chili. In fact, here’s a jaw-dropping fact: A single tablespoon (15-gram) serving of ketchup may contain up to 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of sugar. Yes, seriously.
Healthier alternatives include: fresh or dried herbs and spices; fresh chili; yellow mustard; vinegar; pesto; and mayonnaise.
Read Your Labels
Point blank: If you’re not checking for sugar in canned foods, you’re not going to get far in your sugar reduction.
Avoid canned foods that contain syrup or have sugar in the ingredients list. Fruit is sweet enough, so go for varieties that are labeled with “in own juice” or “no added sugar.”
Still want to buy canned fruits or vegetables that do have added sugar? No problem: Simply remove some of the sugar by rinsing them in water before indulging.
Be Wary of “Healthy” Snacks
Contrary to popular belief, snacks like granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit can contain as much— if not more— sugar than their “unhealthy” counterparts, i.e. a Hershey’s Bar or Kit-Kat.
So next time you’re craving a small bite, opt for one of these instead: a handful of nuts; trail mix; no-added-sugar jerky; or fresh fruit.
Consider Natural Sweeteners
Fortunately, if you’re really struggling to break up with the white stuff, there are a variety of naturally sweet alternatives you can turn to for help. The best part? They’re actually good for you.
Extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana, Stevia has virtually no calories and has been shown to help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Naturally derived from fruit, Erythritol only contains 6% of the calories of sugar, and is much sweeter. Unlike sugar, it also doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes.
Lastly, Xylitol, a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, is also a great alternative to sugar that doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes. Offering the same sweetness level and volume as sugar, it undoubtedly makes an ideal substitute in all your favorite recipes and drinks.