Besides the standard guidelines to avoid liquid sugar beverages and sweets, there are a number of ways to cut out sugar from your diet. Indulging every once in awhile is okay, and even encouraged. But, sugar isn’t a necessary ingredient for a healthy diet and is known to cause many health problems, including diabetes and obesity. Part of your goal for the New Year could be to cut out sugar—or at least reduce your intake. Here are some tips to finally cut out sugar from your life:
1) Scope out hidden sugar
Sometimes being a healthy eater is all about being a food detective. Start analyzing ingredients in all the food you buy at the grocery store. But, don’t just search for sugar—there are over 60 names companies use! Be weary of fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, brown sugar, and cane juice--just to name a few. You will be surprised how much sugar is in every day items. Cut out high sugar items from your shopping list.
2) Cut out sugar at breakfast
One of the times of day when eating added sugar is most prevalent is at breakfast. It is common to add sugar to coffee or tea, or to put sugar on top of cereal. However, try to begin cutting out the amount of sugar added—and maybe eventually cut out sugar all together. Try an artificial sweetener, or add a sweet fruit on top of your cereal.
3) Sweeten food yourself
Try the fruit trick for all of your meals. Make an effort to put fruit on snacks and other meals instead of relying on sugar for that sweetened taste. For example, instead of eating sweetened yogurt as a snack—try to add on berries. Fruit has the natural, good kind of sugar.
4) Focus on color when you grocery shop
When you hit up the farmers market or local grocery store, try to load up on vegetables and fruit. These foods are colorful and the most healthy options. When you start seeing lots of pastas, snack food, and sweets—you are adding in more sugar than you probably even realize. Look back through everything you picked up before you check out your items: get rid of those sugary foods!
5) Don’t stop eating dessert
The idea of never having a piece of cake or a homemade brownie again seems pretty horrible. Don’t try to commit to avoiding all sugary desserts—but limit them. Have a rule that only on Fridays you get a sugary treat, or just when you go out to dinner. Just make sure sugary treats are not part of your daily diet.
Once you start limiting added sugars you will stop missing them so much, and begin to appreciate the sweet taste of natural sugar in foods. The benefits of quitting sugar have long-lasting effects and even if you don’t completely “quit,” just reducing the amount will still help you feel happier and healthier.