10 Ways to Stop Eating Lots of Sugar
After reading our previous blog piece ‘5 Reasons To Eliminate Sugar‘ you may now be more familiar with why consuming too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Lots of sugar has huge negative impacts on your mental and physical health.
Excess sugar has been shown to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, skin conditions and is thought to even ‘feed’ some cancers.
While sugar is of course found naturally in fruit and vegetables, this type is considered healthy when of course eaten in moderation.
The danger comes from added and refined sugars in processed foods. In fact, sugar is hugely prevalent in most foods that you might not associate as necessarily unhealthy.
So, now we know the impact sugar can have on our health, HOW can we stop eating so much of it? Have a read…
Ditch the sugary drinks
So often we are caught out overloading on sugars from the liquids we consume. Most popular soft drinks contain heaps of sugar and even those considered ‘healthy’ such as fruit juices, smoothies and sports drinks for example contain an eye watering amount.
The issue here is that your body does not recognise drinks in the same way it does food. Drinks do not fill you up so consequently you will not eat less to compensate for it. Here are some better options when it comes to choosing your daily drinks:
- Water with squeezed lemon or lime, mint or cucumber
- Herbal teas
- Black coffee or unsweetened tea.
Cutting down on sugary drinks can drastically reduce your sugar intake and help you lose weight in the process.
Avoid Sugar – Packed Desserts
Let’s face it, we are probably more than aware that traditional desserts do not offer any nutritional value. But that does not mean to say we need to ditch the sweet treats completely. Try these options for a healthier, lower sugar alternative:
- Fresh fruit
- Greek yoghurt with fruit/ nuts
- Dark chocolate
- Handful of dates
- Handful of nuts
- Oatcakes with nut butter
- Homemade cake made with alternatives to refined sugar (coconut sugar, date nectar, bananas!)
Swapping the traditional knickerbocker glory or shop bought cakes for these lighter, healthier alternatives can significantly help your waistline while still helping your sweet tooth! Adding more fresh fruit to your diet also strongly improves your fibre, vitamin and mineral intake.
Check Your Sauces
Another sneaky sugar demon! Sauces such as ketchup, barbeque and sweet chilli are very common in most homes however many do not realise the shocking amount of sugar these sauces contain.
For example, a single tablespoon of ketchup may contain a whole teaspoon of sugar. When choosing your sauces always check the label and aim for those with a lower sugar content. Here are some other great and healthier options to add flavour to your food:
- Fresh spices and herbs
- Fresh chilli
Opt for Full Fat Choices
We are often channelled to believe that ‘low fat’ options are better for our waistline. This is in fact not the case. While these foods might be low in fat, they are more often than not considerably higher in sugar and sometimes even calories than their full fat counterparts.
Stick to Whole Foods
Whole foods are those that have not been processed or refined in any way. On the other end of the scale are highly processed foods packed with sugar, sweetener and artificial colours and flavourings. Do not let these processed foods catch you out; seemingly healthy options such as pasta sauce and baked beans and tinned soups are absolutely packed with added sugars. This brings us back to ALWAYS reading the label to check your sugar content. Where possible try to focus on eating home cooked meals where you know exactly what you are putting into your dish. Keep things simple using fresh herbs, spices and olive oil to season your food.
Bin the Canned Foods
Canned fruit might seem like a quick and easy healthy option. Quick and easy yes but it actually does not rank too highly on the healthy list. These canned foods are jam packed with sugar and syrup. You are far better choosing fresh or even frozen fruit with just their naturally occurring sugars.
Watch Your ‘Branded Healthy’ Processed Snacks
Unfortunately, many marketing strategies have led us to believe that certain foods, seemingly easy, on the go packages snacks, are far healthier than they actually are. Surprisingly, protein bars, granola bars, cereal bars, dried fruit and healthy branded snacks often actually contain as much if not more sugar than your regular chocolate bar! This is misleading because often if you are choosing this type of snack you are actively trying to pick the healthier option. Again, it comes down to really studying the label and knowing exactly what you are putting into your body. Give these healthy snack ideas a go instead:
- Hardboiled egg
- Handful of nuts
- Fresh fruit
- Oat cakes and nut butters
- Trial mix
It is always a great idea to be armed with healthy snacks, particularly when you are out and about so you cannot be fooled by ‘healthy’ branded snacks on the shelves.
Bin the Sugary Cereal
Starting your day with sugary cereal is far more damaging to your body than you might think. Breakfast cereals are up there with the worst kind of sugars. What is worse is that again seemingly ‘healthy’ branded cereals such as granola have the highest sugar content of them all. Not only is cereal packed with sugar, it also does not do a great job in filling you up. If you start your day with a sugary cereal, you will always be on the back foot when it comes to dealing with sugar spikes and cravings. Instead, try these healthier and more satiating options:
- Porridge with chopped fruit or/ and nuts
- Greek yoghurt with berries and nuts
- Eggs and salmon/ avocado
- Avocado on whole meal toast or rye bread
These options are high in protein and fibre keeping you full until lunch time and therefore preventing unnecessary snacking.
Try Natural Sweeteners
There is no doubt that going completely cold turkey and giving up sugar completely can be extremely difficult. If you are struggling or experiencing withdrawals at the beginning, natural sweeteners can be a brilliant option. Stevia and Xylitol are naturally occurring in fruit and veg and great options for your tea, porridge or yoghurt to give you that extra pick me up!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If you are really serious about cutting down on sugar and going on a healthy detox, it is vital that reduce the sugar in your house. If we are sat working from home, we will be far more tempted by the biscuit tin if it is filled up and within our reach. The best way to conquer these battles is to literally not keep sugar in the house. Instead focus on only eating when you are hungry and your healthier, lower sugar snacks. This will do wonders for your health, mood and your waistline!
Excess sugar can be incredibly harmful to our health. It is important to avoid the obvious culprits such as biscuits, cakes, sweets and fizzy drinks but it is also really important to be extra vigilant and aware when it comes to the so called ‘healthy’ snacks and foods that are actually packed with refined sugar. Focus on meal prep and whole foods to ensure you are completely in control of what you are putting into your body. BUT also remember, a sugary snack once in a while is OK.
Read next: Rethink Your Carbs