How to Cut Down Sugar Intake Gradually?
Eating too much sugar can have many negative effects on your health. While sugar is naturally found in foods like fruits and vegetables, this type has little effect on your blood sugar and is considered very healthy because they are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The danger is from added sugars in processed foods. The empty calories from added sugars in desserts, sugary drinks, pastries and candies can lead to weight gain and spikes in blood glucose levels with low to no nutritional value.
Here are a few tips on how to cut down your sugar intake gradually. Yes Gradually! Don't be cold turkey and cut sugar altogether at once! You will start craving sugar and give up after a while to binge on sweets! One of the most important things to remember when changing the diet is to do so gradually.
1) No More Table Sugar!
Start by tossing the table sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey, molasses and artificial sugar such as Stevia and Splenda. Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. If this is hard for you, it is best to start cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and then gradually lower it down over time. Trust me! You will start to enjoy the taste of fresh coffee and tea with no added sugar! You can also drink your coffee and tea with a few dried nutritious fruits such as raisins, mulberries or dates. Just don't binge on dried fruits cause even though they are healthier compared to table sugar, but they still contain a high volume of sugar. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try using fresh fruits (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots). Mashed banana is the best for your oatmeal. It gives your oatmeal a sweet, creamy and satisfying taste and texture.
2) Avoid Sugary Drinks
Soft drinks are an easy way to exceed your daily dose of sugar in one shot. Be wiser in choosing what to drink since most of the seemingly “healthy” sweet drinks such as sports drinks, iced flavored teas and juices contain a high level of sugar. Juices have some minerals and vitamins of fresh fruit but it also has a lot more sugar, and next to no fiber and it is processed! So the fruit juices that you make at home are a lot healthier than the artificial ones! Try to drink more Green Tea, Flavorful Herbal Teas, and most importantly PURE WATER! Try adding sliced fruit or fresh herbs to your water or drink sparkling water to make it more interesting and satisfying!
3) Choose healthier options for your breakfast!
Having breakfast is very important for your health, but it is also the easiest meal to accidentally overdo on the sugar. Many seemingly wholesome breakfasts, like muffins, cereals, granola and instant oatmeal, can be loaded with sugar. Instead, go for homemade oatmeal with fresh fruit and cinnamon, Homemade granola with nuts and fruits, yogurt with berries and nuts, Eggs, whole-grain toast with avocado or hummus and many more healthy breakfast options. You can always prep your breakfast over the weekend for your busy weekdays. This way you can avoid running to a cafeteria to quickly grab a muffin and sugary coffee on your way to work when you are late to work.
4) Focus on Whole Foods
"Eat whole foods and avoid processed foods". What does whole food mean? Ingredients that haven’t been processed or refined in any way, like whole grains, dried beans and fresh produce. By eating whole foods, you’re automatically avoiding added sugars, artificial flavors and trans fats. You need to avoid baked goods such as cakes, muffins, and brownies and processed foods such as sausages, chips, sweets, etc.
The best way to avoid sugar cravings is to eat meals that satisfy you for longer. Protein and fat are the best choices here.
Diets that focus on whole and complete foods include the following options:
Vegetables, Fruits, Lean meats, Poultry, Tofu. Fish, Whole Grains, Legumes, Beans, Avocados, Nuts and Seeds.
5) Snack Smart
Nuts, fresh fruits can be chosen over cookies, Milk chocolates and chips. use your common sense to select snacks so you get some nutritional value out of what you eat. Click HERE to get a few healthy snack ideas.
And remember even fiber-rich dried fruit can be shockingly high in added sugar so just eat them in small portions.
6) Skip Dessert
This is the most obvious way to reduce your sugar intake. Desserts are loaded with sugar with almost no nutritional value, which causes blood sugar spikes and can leave you feeling tired, hungry and craving more sugar. Of course, you can enjoy every last bite of your birthday cake to have a happy, balanced life. But when it comes to your everyday sweet tooth, try ending your meal with a fruit salad, a piece of dark chocolate, baked fruit, Nice-creams (Frozen banana Ice cream) and many other amazing fruity options!
People wishing to adopt a no-sugar diet plan should do so gradually. Going from a diet full of sugar to one without any should be a slow process. It may help to start by eliminating the most obvious sources of sugar. Removing candy and sugary beverages is also an excellent place to start. Make an effort and cook real food from scratch whenever you can Sounds a bit frustrating? Trust me. Once you get into healthier eating habits, it's so easy to rein in your sugar intake since you no longer crave for it!