There is no better short and sweet suggestion than “Eat less sugar”. Eating too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your health. According to various studies, it has been shown to contribute to cancer, heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and tooth decay. Did you know? The average American currently consumes around 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day! It exceeds the recommended daily limit which is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
Keeping an eye on how much sugar you’re swallowing is key to have a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Needless to say, the empty calories from added sugars in desserts, sodas and candy can lead to weight gain and spikes in blood glucose levels. Cutting it down may seem hard for those who have a sweet tooth, but here are our best tips to eat less sugar:
Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add to things you eat or drink regularly (cereal, bagels, tea or coffee) by half.
Forget sodas and energy drinks. There is no better beverage than water. If you’re struggling with drinking water, just add a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime, mint or cucumber.
Don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. It is always a bad idea: the hungrier you are, the more likely you are to reach for unhealthy and sugar-laden meals.
Try to enhance foods with spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, curry or nutmeg instead of using sugar. If you prefer extracts, use almond, orange, vanilla or lemon.
Cut the sugar in your recipes by one-third to one-half when baking brownies, cheesecakes, cookies or cakes. You won’t even notice the difference.
Add fruit to your food. For example, try to add fresh fruits (bananas, strawberries, blueberries or apple) and dried fruits (raisins, cranberries or apricots) instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal. The fructose will add a sweet taste to any of your food.
- Avoid sauces which contain lots of sugar like barbecue sauce, ketchup, and sweet chili sauce. If you lack inspiration, here are some other options to flavour your food: yellow mustard, pesto, vinegar, fresh chili, etc.
No need to panic and throw every sweet thing out of your kitchen! Take a moment to learn more about the difference between added sugars (honey, syrups, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices) and naturally-occurring sugar (vegetables, fruits, and plain dairy products).
What about you? Tell us in the comments if you’re going to try to eat less sugar this year!