Health awareness in relation to diet has been on the increase in recent times, and sugar is one of the food items we’ve been told to keep at an arm’s length. The numerous health complications of high sugar intake has put a lot of people in a state of jeopardy, making it necessary for many to work towards reducing their sugar intake.
However, sugar-rich edibles appear to be very appetizing and tasty. This has made it almost impossible for those who want to avoid them to do so. If you are one of these guys, say goodbye to your sugar worries – here are tips that will help you cut down your sugar intake to the desired level.
1. Find Out the Sugar Sources in Your Diet!
The first and most important thing to do is to find out the things you take that contains a significant quantity of sugar. It’s only when you know the foods that constitute your sugar intake that you’ll be able to know what to do about them.
2. Read Nutrition Facts of Every Packaged Product
If you are not in the habit of glancing through the nutrition facts of packaged products before buying them, please start doing that right away. It will help you find out the products you should cut down on or completely avoid. Surprisingly, some food items we think contain very little or no sugar (judging from their taste), actually have a lot of sugar in them. Also, go through the ingredients and avoid products that have sugar as one of their first three ingredients.
It is worthy to point out here that manufacturers give sugar several names such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses, hydrolyzed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup, honey, etc.
3. Completely Avoid The “Sweeties” Section
If you have become so addicted to sweetened foods that the first two measures will not help, then you have to avoid coming around the departments where your usual sugary delicacies are displayed in the shopping stores. Take to the sections where healthy and wholesome foods are displayed. Letting these irresistible sweeties greet your eyes increases your likelihood of buying them, hence you keep consuming more sugar.
4. Replace Refined Sugar with Natural Ones
Most of the times, what contributes to the high level of blood sugar is not the sugar from natural sources but the ones from processed food, known as added sugar. Those are the sugars added to foods and drinks and as earlier mentioned, are in form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, fruit puree/juice, etc. These sugars provide extra calories but few or no nutritional benefits. A piece of fruit has much higher nutritional value than a processed fruit juice.
5. Avoid Soda
All kinds of soda drinks contain large quantities of sugar so they ought to be avoided if you really are interested in cutting down your sugar intake. Discovery has shown that a standard can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, enough to fill a person’s daily recommended intake. Another discovered fact is that the artificial sweeteners in these drinks cause people to overeat, or overcompensate, for the lack of calories contained in the beverages. Also, limit your intake of juices and squashes as they all contain a high level of sugar.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Water has the natural ability to sustain us. Sometimes we find it a bit difficult to differentiate between hunger and thirst. When you feel like taking something, instead of munching down bites of sugary snacks, first drink water. If you feel alright after a while, then you know you were thirsty and not hungry. But if you continue to feel famished, then its hunger, so you go ahead and eat something. Water is proven to be a good agent of neutralization and dilution, hence, plenty of it is also very good to keep the concentration of body fluids well balanced.
7. Don’t Go Shopping on an Empty Stomach!
Going out to shop when you are hungry is a no-no when you are working on reducing your sugar intake. This is because a hungry person finds almost every edible appetizing and savory. The empty stomach will give you a greedy eye, so it is better to fill it up with something wholesome before setting out to do your shopping. Another trick here is that when you snack on something wholesome prior to shopping, it will help you focus on nutritious foods instead of the less nutritious ones.
8. Minimize Eating Out – Prepare Your Meals
Most of the low nutrition foods we consume are basically fast foods from restaurants. Foods prepared outside the home by professionals usually seem to be more attractive, delicious and tastier. But most of the times, they do not have as much nutritional value as the ones we prepare ourselves. Cooking your own food gives you the opportunity to select the ingredients and condiments yourself. This includes making your own salad dressing at home in preference to the bottled ones which certainly contain more sugar. Select and experiment with your favorite recipes by reducing the amount of sugar by one-quarter to one-third. Try vanilla, cinnamon or almond extract to add flavor to your baking instead of added sugar.
9. Break Your Fast – Don’t Skip It!
Taking breakfast helps you to get over your food cravings throughout the day. When you take your breakfast, you’ll be in a better position to control what you take for the rest of the day. But when you skip breakfast, you will end up taking more unplanned snacks and meals, thereby not being able to cut down on sugar as you wished to.
10. Take Fresh Instead of Dried Fruits
Whenever it is at your discretion to choose, go for fresh over dried fruit. Dried fruit boasts many of the same benefits of its plumper counterparts, but posses a higher concentration of sugar and calories per serving since the water has been removed. A cup of grapes, for instance, contains 15 grams of sugar and around 60 calories while a cup of raisins contains 98 grams of sugar and nearly 500 calories.
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