Sugar is one of the most over-consumed substances in the American diet, but it’s not surprising It’s found in nearly every section of the supermarket, too. Avoiding the baked goods and candy sections just won’t cut it anymore – especially with processed foods being the norm.
Sugar and Weight Management
Nearly every person with a goal of weight-loss or weight maintenance has tried to scale down their sugar intake. Some may even nix it altogether and go cold turkey. We know that sweet treats are generally high in calories, but how else does sugar affect weight and health?
- Nutritional Value: Foods rich with sugar typically aren’t nutrient-dense or filling
- Insulin: Too much glucose may cause insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels
Everyday Tips for Cutting Back
If you’re trying to scale-back on sugar and limit your consumption of sugary foods, you can start with everyday habits you may not be aware of. For instance:
- Ditch or cut back on sodas and fruit juices
- Check for high sugar content in cereal, granola and protein bars (>15 grams)
- Make your own spaghetti sauce
- Avoid or limit flavored yogurt
- Try not to replace sugars with artificial sweeteners
- Don’t douse your coffee with lots of sweeteners and creamers
- Aim for more whole foods vs. processed foods
- Cut back slowly as opposed to all at once
- Drink more water to reduce sweet cravings
- Use spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric for more flavor
- Re-think your table sugar (white, brown), honey, syrup and molasses
- Try extracts like vanilla or almond
- Eat fresh, frozen or dried fruits
Be Gentle with Yourself
Addiction to sugary foods is a real thing. So, cutting back on it when the food industry finds so many ways to sneak it will likely be a challenge. Remember to take it slow and easy.
Instead of all-or-nothing thinking, try a mindfulness and moderation approach. You don’t have to punish yourself just because you have weight-related goals. It’s all about strategy!