Repeatedly having sweets leads not only to worsened health, but can also cause you to wind up in a cycle of cravings and habitual junk-food eating. Some of the biggest reasons that you might want to overcome your sugar habit? Consuming too much sugar is associated with many serious diseases: diabetes, auto-immune disease, heart disease, obesity, and more. In fact the dramatic increase in sugar in the average person’s diet over the past few decades is believed to be connected to almost every serious health problem there is along with the “obesity epidemic” that has swept most developed countries.
That being said, you don’t need to go cold-turkey and give up sugar altogether. Even a reduction in the amount you’re having everyday could make a big difference long term in terms of preserving your health. Aiming to get your sugar intake from whole, natural foods like real fruit is the best option, and will allow you to still have some sweets without ingesting far too much sugar each day and winding up with a real “sweet tooth”.
Luckily there are lots of different ways to make small changes to your diet in order to cut out large portions of sugar:
It’s very common to find at least one type of sugar (if not many more) in most packaged foods sold in the grocery store. Even in many “healthy” sounding foods, like yogurts and low calorie frozen meals, sugar is added to improve the taste without you even realizing it.
Foods to put on the back-burner? All soda, sports drinks, packaged breads or baked goods that aren’t truly 100% whole grain, sugary condiments like ketchup or honey mustard, and most cereals. Try consuming more fresh, homemade food that doesn’t have sugar lurking inside.
Whenever possible, make food from your scratch so you can see exactly what’s being added. Sweeten your favorite foods yourself when necessary using a bit of organic stevia extract (a natural sweetener with no calories or sugar), raw honey or a bit of pure maple syrup. While big food manufacturers add loads of refined cane sugar to foods to make them more appealing, fresh food usually tastes great and sweet enough with just a small amount of high-quality, natural sweetener. An example? Yogurt sold in the grocery store might have 15 grams of added sugar, but you can simply add your own fruit or honey, contributing only 7 grams of sugar, and it’ll still taste great!
Of course it’s best to make your own food whenever possible, by this isn’t always possible in the real world. When grocery shopping, carefully check ingredient labels and compare different brands to see which is the lowest in sugar. For example, one type of cereal might only have 5-6 grams of sugar per serving, while another can easily have double this. If you’re going to keep certain packaged foods in your diet regularly, at least buy the healthiest option you can. And if you’re at a restaurant or chain-store that shows nutritional information for foods on the menu, glance around to look for a low-sugar option.