Here are a few tips to reduce your sugar consumption, and I’m NOT talking about sugars naturally present in fruits, vegetables, milk or dairy products. You don’t need to go cold turkey, but keep these tips in mind and try to go one step at a time.
My tips to reduce sugar in your diet
1. Don’t be tempted by buying products on sale in bulk, because you’ll end up consuming more! Unless the sale is on tomatoes or apples! Let me know when it happens!
2. Check the list of ingredients and make sure sugar is not one of the top three items listed. Often there will be multiple sources of sugar. Here are a few names used to describe sugar, there are more than 50!
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Brown sugar
- Raw sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Cane sugar
- Beet sugar
- Turbinado sugar
- Maple syrup
- Agave nectar
- Fruit juice concentrate
3. Go for whole & non-refined foods to avoid added hidden sugars. Don’t be fooled by the packaging! It may look like a healthy option but, is it really?
4. Drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, juices, and sports drinks, which can be high in added sugars and will spike your sugar levels and your energy will drain just as quickly. Try liquorice or cinnamon herbal teas as a substitute.
5. Get rid of the sugar in your coffee or tea, this is a hard one I know, but it is possible and you'll be able to taste the real taste of coffee.
6. Try to reduce your alcohol consumption since alcoholic drinks often contain high amounts of added sugar.
7. Incorporate whole grains to your diet, they will maintain your blood sugar levels and you’ll feel satisfied for much longer! Or you can go crazy on vegetables, they have carbs too!
8. Limit desserts: enjoy desserts and treats in moderation, and look for lower sugar options or make your own treats using less sugar, I always cut by half the quantity of sugar.
9. Be mindful of condiments: Many condiments like salad dressings can be high in added sugars. Make your own dressing at home.
10. Rediscover real food, taste food, be creative, have fun, eating healthy does not have to be boring nor blend.
11. Eat fresh Fruits: yes you can eat fruits! Eating fresh fruit is a great way to reduce refined sugar consumption as it provides natural sugars, fibre, and nutrients that can satisfy a sweet craving.
A note on diet soda: Diet soda can be addictive due to its high content of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, which can trigger the reward centres in the brain and create a desire for more. Studies have shown that the consumption of diet soda may alter the gut microbiome, which can also affect the brain and increase cravings.
The bottom line: sugar addiction does exist, it is extremely hard to wean ourselves from sugar but with motivation and a bit of help, it is possible!
And I promise you’ll feel much better at the end of your journey.