9 Simple Ways to Cut Back on Sugar in Your Diet
Americans consume between 100-125 pounds of sugar each year.
That's roughly a quarter of a pound every day or 0.5 cup per day.
It's no wonder that obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions are growing by the day.
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 people have prediabetes…and 8 out 10 of those folks don’t even know it!
Type 2 and prediabetes are being recategorized as autoimmune conditions. They arise from an overabundance of glucose (blood sugar) that desensitizes the muscles ability to use insulin. Insulin is what our bodies use to process glucose so that our muscles can use it for energy.
Prediabetes may lead to a whole host of other chronic health conditions including high blood pressure, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and others.
Cutting back on added sugars can help protect you from these serious health conditions, help you lose weight, and cut back on sugar cravings.
If you have any of these risk factors, you may be at risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:
· Over the age of 45
· A parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes
· You are physically active less than 3 days a week
· You gave birth to a 9 pound or higher baby
· You were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (while pregnant)
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests eating less than 6 tsp for women and children over 2 and 9 tsp for men. USA nutrition labels use grams to calculate total calories, so keep this in mind when reading labels: 6 tsp is 35 grams and 9 tsp is 37 grams.
9 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Sugar Consumption:
1. Avoid soda. Soft drinks are the worst offenders by far. A typical 12-ounce soda contains at least 8 teaspoons of added sugar, which alone is more than the daily recommendation for women and kids. Instead, drink more water.
2. Limit processed foods. Candy, cakes and cookies account for a significant amount of our sugar intake and are hidden in many foods you might not suspect. Sugar is added to everything from mass produced “healthy” breads and other health foods to peanut butter.
3. Read labels. If the first ingredients listed are added sweeteners like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, monkfruit, coconut sugar, etc you may want to find something more nutritious to eat. Check the total grams of sugar, but keep in mind that will include both added sugars and the less worrisome naturally occurring sugars. Don’t forget: 6 tsp is 35 grams and 9 tsp is 37 grams.
4. Make healthy substitutions. You can eat delicious meals if you make smart substitutions. Switch to a breakfast cereal that's unsweetened or lightly sweetened. Add a little vanilla extract to plain yogurt and skip the fake flavors, instead opting for a small handful of nutrient and antioxidant packed berries like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.
5. Prepare more foods from scratch. Using fresh ingredients gives you more control over hidden sugars. Make your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar and garlic. It will also taste better and cost less then store bought.
6. Proceed gradually. We’re a nation of sugar addicts. Wean yourself in baby steps to prevent withdrawal symptoms like intense cravings, headaches, etc. Example: use half as much sugar in your coffee or switch to a natural product like stevia that has no calories.
7. Reduce portion sizes. Moderation is the key. You can still enjoy your favorite desserts as long as you savor a sliver of cake or a few squares of a deluxe chocolate bar…become a master of sugar substitutes like using bananas in baking in place of sugar.
8. Address emotional eating. You might sometimes reach for sweets when you're feeling stressed because they help you feel better by boosting your serotonin levels. If emotional eating is an issue for you, seek more constructive ways to relax, like meditating or listening to music.
9. Move more. One of the best ways to help your body process all the excess sugar we’ve consumed is movement. The more you move, the better your body can use insulin to help you breakdown the blood sugar (glucose). Aim to move at least 20 minutes a day, every day.
Cutting your sugar addiction will go a long way to improving your health and wellness.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it becomes to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet as you start making changes.
The less sugar you eat helps you start to taste food differently, the way nature intended!
This is one of many topics we cover in my 12-week online coaching program for people living with autoimmune and other chronic conditions. Sugar addiction is a real issue for us Americans.
True autoimmune healing can take months and there’s no set timeline for anyone. Many factors will play a part in your healing journey and those include your gut health, hormones, activity levels, stress levels, and what body systems your autoimmune condition likes to attack.
It’s my mission to help clients in all stages of their autoimmune journey by providing them with wellness programs that fit into their complicated lives. No matter what stage you're at in your healing process my mission is always the same: help people live the life they love.
For more information on my online coaching program, click here to email me and we’ll get started. All you have to do is say: I’m interested.