Sugar is one of the most difficult things to give up in our quest for wellness. Naturally addicting, sugar is one of the most prominent ingredients in processed food today. However, sugar is also one of the most damaging foods for our body. It is one of the biggest causes of inflammation in the body, along with serious complications for our skin, heart, liver, cholesterol, blood sugar and energy levels. Yet the average American consumes around 19.5 teaspoons or 82 grams of sugar daily. If that wasn’t alarming enough, that amounts to 66 pounds of added sugar per person yearly.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women should have no more than six teaspoons or 25 grams of sugar per day and men no more than nine teaspoons or 38 grams. Considering how excess sugar readily converts to fat in our bodies, a diet filled with sugary foods naturally promotes weight gain. This guide will walk you through how you can make smart food choices to reduce sugar consumption, and how you can keep your life sweet, even without so many sweets.
1. Read labels to see how many grams of sugar are in foods and beverages.
Added sweeteners such as granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, stevia, molasses, and maple syrup are what a person needs to watch for. Natural sugars such as those that are found in fruit, vegetables, and many dairy products are of less concern. The New York Times reports that most people don’t overdo it when they eat foods with have difficulty bingeing on naturally occurring sugars.
2. Formulate a game plan that helps you reduce sugar consumption.
The sugarless challenge- to get you off processed sugar completely, try to eliminate added sugar products from your shopping list for one month. To jumpstart your sugar detox, consider a Smart 7 day juice cleanse to completely rebalance your taste buds. With only 1 g of naturally occuring sugar per juice, Smart juicers report their sugar cravings easily disappearing once they are on a set schedule and health regimen. Look for juices that are high in vegetables and fiber, while being low in fruit content. When craving something sweet, reach for organic produceand products in their natural state whenever possible. For example, opt for an orange rather than a glass of sugar-laden orange juice.
Simple choices like these provide favorable results. You’ll notice a difference in how you feel because when blood sugars in the body raise quickly, they also dip low shortly after they’ve been processed. It’s why the feeling is called a “sugar high,” because it makes you feel good at first and not so great afterward.
3. Make healthier choices about which sources of sugar you consume.
You don’t need to give up sweets entirely to benefit from this lifestyle change. You do, however, want to avoid eating added sugar by making healthier selections. You can live a very sweet life without consuming high fructose corn syrup, granulated sugar, and molasses. Opt for naturally sweet foods such as pineapple and banana to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Quitting sugar cold turkey isn’t a realistic possibility for most people. Gradually reduce the amount of sugar you consume until you rarely eat anything with added sugar. You’ll notice a distinct difference in how you feel because your body won’t try to overcompensate by producing extra insulin which leads to feelings of sluggishness and depression in many adults.
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