As a person who has a major sweet tooth... I know it can be really hard to cut sugar out completely.
With all the health information, regarding new nutritional theories, it can get overwhelming and confusing. Many of them with very good strong arguments. But if you look at most of them: paleo, keto, vegan, plant-based there is a strong common denominator, S-U-G-A-R.
So if you think about the main cause of obesity and overweight it's really: sugar. The average American consumes 32 teaspoons of sugar a day.
There are two things to understand when it comes to sugar:
1) When we talk about sugar it's not only about added sugars such as: sucrose, high fructose syrup, glucose; your liver turns all carbohydrates into sugar as a source of energy. Even veggies and fruits, they are carbohydrates. Now, veggies and fruits, turn into less sugar and don't spike your blood sugar + they have great vitamins, minerals and fiber!
2) When it comes to complex carbohydrates or carbohydrates that turn into a lot sugar in your body + they contain added sugars it goes down to this:
A) Quality: Very important for them to be made with cleaner ingredients, and sugar substitutes such as: coconut sugar, agave syrup or dates. Always read ingredients, and the first ingredients listed are the ones that the products contains the most. So if coconut sugar is the second ingredient listed, I would say even though it's healthier it's still too much.
B) Quantity: Same, it may be a healthier and a good product, still moderation is key.
To make it even easier here are 5 Ways to Lower Sugar in Your Diet:
1. Read Ingredients
As I mentioned before, get into the habit of reading ingredients, not so much the Nutrition Facts take your attention to ingredients.
You will be surprised how many secret ingredients are hidden in "healthy" products, here are some of the ingredients to watch out for:
Added sugars are in many of the food we eat, deli meats, bread, rice, tortillas, yogurt, milks.
You don't have to eliminate them completely but being aware of them will definitely help you reduce the consumption of sugar.
2. Satisfy Appetite with Healthy Fats
Sugar is highly addictive, specially if you are hungry! Think about what we usually go to snack bars and yogurts for a snack, causing our blood sugar to spike. Better say yes to healthy fats, fats help your body remain satisfied for longer periods of time.
Add avocado, nut, seeds, olive oil to your meals, you will see you will be snacking much less between meals.
3. Are You Balancing Your Meals?
A balanced meal = a balanced body, sometimes our body's cravings is a signal that our body is deficient in some area.
By balancing your meals, with animal or plant protein, carbohydrates such as vegetables and healthy fats, your body more than likely won't be feeling that sudden need of sugar fix or at least not as much.
And when it does, you go to quality and quantity.
4. Decrease Sugar Gradually
Specially if you are not working with a nutrition expert, take it slow. Slow steady steps...
Because we are as addicted to sugar just as any other drug. nicotine or caffeine, our body goes to withdrawals when you suddenly eliminate what it is addicted to. Your body will want more of what you regularly consume more of, good thing that it will also want more of the inverse when you reduce sugar.
So to avoid withdrawals and ensure success, acclimate your taste buds. If you add 2 teaspoons of sugar to your coffee now add 1 teaspoon. If you use an artificial sweetener such as Splenda now try using coconut sugar or stevia. If you usually drink 1 soda a day make it 3 a week. Your body will want less and less of the sugary food and more and more of the healthy stuff.
5. Get Your Sleep In
I don't know about you guys but when I have had not enough sleep, unhealthy foods seem more attractive. Like if my body is seeking for huge source of energy.
And needless to say, there is no energy or desire to get in the kitchen and cook a healthy meal. Try to get a good 7-8 hours of sleep, and notice how your cravings subside and your energy will be high.
I would love to know: What is the is the one thing you can do to lower sugar this week? Choose from the options above and comment below.