These Surprisingly Easy Ways to Eat Less Sugar Will Make You Rethink Everything
Cutting sugar out of your diet sounds easier said than done — and it is. However, eating less sugar is totally doable and is actually easier than most people think.
The easy steps we disclose are small, daily habits you can incorporate into even the busiest lifestyle. Before you try yet another sugar-free crash diet, test out these easy steps and watch the positive effect they’ll have on your diet and your health.
Make healthier lifestyle choices in things other than your diet
Making healthy lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep influence your diet and sugar intake. If you’re sleep deprived, you’re much more likely to reach for the sugary latte and a donut to keep you going through the workday. However, if you’re well-rested, you’ll be more inclined to watch what you snack on and hit the gym on your way home.
“When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” Susan Zafarlotfi, Ph.D., told WebMD.
Do your research on added sugar
A BuzzFeed community user told the site; “I learned about the impact of sugar on my body, and why eating a lot of it is actually bad for you. That helped me better create a diet that works for my body. Slowly I adjusted and realized that I didn’t crave sugar the way I used to.” The British Heart Foundation gives useful tips on how to spot sneaky sugar on food labels.
Understanding food labels — and the ingredients’ implications on your body — can be tricky. However, by simply paying attention to how much sugar you should consume per day, you can get started in cutting it out. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you keep your added sugar intake to a maximum of 10% of your daily calories (for a 2,000 calorie diet, you should max out at 200 calories from added sugar per day).
Track your intake, if you think that will help
Once you have an idea of your sugar limits, it’s a good idea to use apps like MyFitnessPal and That Sugar App to track your consumption. Using these apps can also help you track the number of carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients you eat throughout the day. This is crucial since certain simple carbs can contribute to your daily sugar intake.
“I started tracking my food using MyFitnessPal and realized how much sugar I was consuming. Now I try to make sure that I’ve only consumed 25g of sugar, depending on the day,” A BuzzFeed user said.
Have go-to snacks on hand that are low in sugar
If you leave the house with healthy, low-sugar snacks like almonds or chopped vegetables, you’ll be prepared for when that mid-day slump hits. If you have a convenient snack to reach for, you’ll be less likely to cave and go for whatever sugary snack you find first.
Check out these guilt-free snacks that will fill you up and help you lose weight for inspiration.
Use fruit to naturally flavor your drinks
Instead of buying diet fruit juices or sodas, put your own healthy (and tasty) spin on water. Naturally sweetening your water with fruits and vegetables will leave you hydrated and energized. Squeezing lemon or lime, infusing cucumbers and berries, or soaking pineapple in your water are surefire ways to naturally spice up the otherwise tasteless beverage.
You can use this tactic to sweeten foods that commonly have high sugar counts. For example, instead of buying flavored yogurt, go for plain greek yogurt and add cut up fruit into it. It’s a natural, significantly healthier option than the high-fructose corn syrup fruit juices that plague flavored yogurt cups.
Avoid diet sodas and low-fat products
It’s easy to fall victim to promising labels like “diet” and “low-fat,” however, they usually just indicate sugar additives like Splenda or low-fat syrups. When a manufacturer takes the fat out of something and labels it “light” or “low-fat,” they’ve usually added sugar to it to make up for the lack of flavor.
In fact, drinking diet sodas can actually derail your diet, WebMD points out. “One possible explanation for the link between diet sodas and weight gain and diabetes risk: The sweeteners in diet soft drinks may trick you into overcompensating, or eating a greater number calories than you normally would,” said Christopher Gardner, Ph.D., director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.
Don’t quit sugar right away
Quitting sugar entirely isn’t realistic, and likely won’t lead to a healthy habit. More often than not, people who cut sugar cold turkey end up relapsing worse than before. Cutting sugar out incrementally, in barely-perceptible ways, is your best bet for success.
For example, putting a bit less sugar in your coffee or swapping out your morning bagel or donut for a homemade fruit smoothie will make all the difference. “… constant self-denial can lead to dietary defiance and end up derailing all your good intentions,” said Larrian Gillespie, M.D., author of The Goddess Diet.
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