Now that you’re well aware of how sugar is causing havoc on your mind and body, you may be looking for ideas to dial back your sugar intake for good. Undoubtedly, sugar makes everything taste better, and that’s the reason it can leave you wanting more. It’s a lot simpler to learn how to cut sugar from your diet than you can imagine but sticking to a low-sugar meal plan can be daunting. Patience and consistency are the key to a healthier lifestyle. To help you get started, here are some easy ways to cut back on sugar.
1. Give Up Your Sugary Beverages
One of the first steps you can take in your journey towards a low-sugar diet is to say goodbye to sugary drinks. For many, these drinks are the primary source of added sugar in your diet. Since these beverages don’t contain many nutrients to make you feel full, you’re more likely to over-consume them.
TIP: Try to avoid all forms of soda and start gradually reducing the amount of sugar you add to your coffee or tea. Keep cutting it back every week until your taste buds get adjusted to sugar-free coffee or tea.
2. Shun Sugar in Your Breakfast
If you enjoy cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, start reading the labels. Most cereals contain refined grains that break down quickly and turn into sugar.
TIP: Choose a cereal with a minimal amount of sugar and look for brands with a good serving of fiber, like whole-grain cereal. The high fiber cereals will help to slow down the sugar breakdown in your body and keep you feeling full for longer. If you’re still craving some sweetness, pair your cereal with a small serving of fruit.
Yogurt is another leading source of sugar in breakfast, even the low-fat kind and especially the ones with added toppings.
TIP: Opt for plain Greek yogurt without any added sugars. Make it more interesting by adding a little fruit or some nuts.
3. Stay Hydrated
Although water doesn’t have the same burst of flavors as your favorite fuzzy drinks and juices with added sugar, it can reduce your cravings for sweets. Therefore, staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to switch to a low-sugar diet.
TIP: You can try water with a squeeze of lemon and swap it for juices and other sugary drinks.
Need more ideas to drink enough water and stay hydrated? See our article: 5 Quick and Easy Tips for Drinking More Water
4. Avoid Processed Food
Shun off processed food because they are notorious for containing added sugar. Some of the biggest culprits include granola bars, fruit snacks, and ketchup. One problem that can trick you into thinking a packaged food is okay is that sugar has many different names and forms, so even if the word “sugar” isn’t one of the top ingredients, it may still be listed as another name or type.
TIP: Prep your meals at home using whole foods, like fish, vegetables, and whole grains, to keep your sugar intake in check. Experiment with spices for extra flavor and nutrients.
5. Eat Healthy Snacks Throughout the Day
The hardest part of cutting sugar from your diet can be the sudden urge to have something sweet or binge eat for the first few days. Having a healthy snack frequently during the day will keep your stomach filled while sustaining your energy level.
TIP: Try eating food with zero added sugar, such as nuts, boiled eggs, and avocados. Your habit of expecting sugar in every meal will go away over time.
6. Avoid Sugar Substitutes
If you’re tempted by the thought of adding artificial sweeteners to your diet as an alternative to sugar, you may end up having even stronger sugar cravings. Artificial sweeteners are calorie-free, but they are a lot sweeter than regular sugar, and using them can signal your brain that you’re consuming a considerable amount of sugar. Consequently, leaving you with more intense sugar cravings throughout the day.
TIP: Recent studies suggest that artificial sweeteners can increase the risk of weight gain and glucose intolerance, which may lead to type 2 diabetes. So, cut back your sugar intake and reduce the amount initially, instead of going for sugar substitutes.
A full-on sugar sabbatical may not be as easy for those who are addicted to sugar. Your sugar cravings might put up a fight against your healthy dietary alternatives.
Start by getting rid of all that high-glycemic, unhealthy stuff from your pantry. Read the labels carefully and make mindful choices while buying your groceries at the supermarket.
The easy ways to cut back on sugar mentioned above will eventually take you to a healthier lifestyle in the long run.