Consuming excessive sugar is the worst thing you can do to your body. Sugar has profound adverse effects on your health. The study has shown sugar’s contribution to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and tooth decay. However, natural sugar is found in fruit and many vegetables, which positively affects health and is considered very healthy. Fruits and vegetables contain multivitamins and minerals, so you can have natural sweetness without having a fear of an increased dose of sugar.
For most of the cereals, salad dressings, and various flavored yogurts, and needless to say, chocolate desserts, you will find sugar everywhere. Added sugar is not healthy for the body. The real danger lies in added sugars in processed foods.
Experts recommend a daily upper limit of sugar in six teaspoons, 25 grams for women and nine teaspoons, 37 grams for men.
Avoid Sugar-Loaded Desserts
Generally, desserts don’t offer much when it comes down to nutritional value.
They are packed with sugar, causing blood sugar spikes, and they may cause you to feel tired, hungrier, and crave more sugar. Dairy-based desserts and grains such as pies, cakes, ice creams, and doughnuts are responsible for over 18% of the American Diet’s added sugar intake. Swapping sugar-packed desserts with baked or fresh fruit increases your vitamin, fiber, mineral, and antioxidant and reduces sugar intake.
Avoid Sauces with Lots of Sugar
Sweet chili sauce and barbeque sauce have a special place in many kitchens. But, many are not aware of the fact these are loaded with high sugar. A single tablespoon (15-gram) of ketchup can contain one teaspoon (4 grams). Read the label to ensure that you’re going with the lowest sugar option, though some contain no added sugar. Standard table sauce can contain a considerable amount of sugar; always read the label to ensure it is sugar-free.
Eat Full-Fat Foods
Consider low-fat alternatives to your favorite food items – salad dressing, peanut butter, yogurt, which is everywhere. If you’ve been made aware that fat is bad, it would feel natural to consider these alternatives rather than the full-fat version when your goal is to lose weight.
However, the actual truth is that they are usually packed with more calories than their full-fat counterparts. A 113-gram serving of low-fat vanilla contains 16 grams of sugar as well as 69 calories. Yogurt made of full-fat cream milk has 5 grams of natural sugar as well as 69 calories. Consumption of high sugar has shown to cause weight gain, So when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s often beneficial to choose the full-fat version.
Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are not refined or processed; it is also free from artificial substances and other additives. While on the other hand, ultra-processed food is prepared foods that contain salt, fat, sugar, and other substances that are not usually used in home cooking. These substances could be colors, artificial flavors, emulsifiers, and other preservatives. Some of the highly processed foods could be desserts, soft drinks, pizzas, pies, cereals. In an average American diet, 90% of added sugar comes from ultra-processed food, while 8.7% comes from food prepared from scratch at home using whole foods.
Check for Sugar in Canned Foods
While canned foods could be a cheap and useful addition to your diet, it also contains a lot of sugar. Naturally occurring sugar contained inside fruits and vegetables does not affect your blood sugar the same way added sugar does. Consider avoiding canned foods that contain sugar or syrup in their ingredients. Choose canned foods labeled with “no added sugar” or “in own juice.” If you have canned vegetables or fruits with added sugar, you can remove it by rinsing it in water before consuming it.
Be Careful With So-Called “Healthy” Processed Snack Foods
People are aware of the amount of added sugar in cookies and candies. However, snacks such as protein bars, granola bars, and dried fruits can contain as much, if not more, sugar compared to their rivals generally considered unhealthy such as chocolate bars. Granola bars can have as much as eight teaspoons, 32 grams of sugar. Dried fruits are full of fibers, antioxidants, and nutrients. However, it is also packed with natural sugar, so it should be consumed in moderation. Some dried fruits are packed with added sugar in high quantities; avoid these by looking for labels that say “100% fruit.”
Avoid Sugar-Filled Breakfast Foods
Breakfast cereals contain a high amount of added sugar; one report has found that some popular breakfast cereals contain added sugar over half their weight. The cereal used in the report contains over 12 teaspoons (50 grams) for each serving, making it 88% sugar by weight. Popular breakfast products such as waffles, pancakes, jams, muffins are also packed with sugar. Switching to low sugar foods that contain a high amount of fiber and protein in breakfast will keep you full for a longer time, and you will not feel the need to have anything else additionally until lunchtime.
Consider Natural Sweeteners
For some, sugar can get as addictive as alcohol or drugs; studies have shown that it can similarly influence the brain to drugs. Sugar addiction produces a craving for it and creates a tolerance level; as the tolerance gets higher, more sugar must be consumed to satisfy the craving. You may feel low in energy. Researchers have found out that their subjects, i.e., rats, showed signs of depression and anxiety post the withdrawal of high sugar intake.
Cut Back on Sugar-Filled Drinks
Popular drinks such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks can contain a heap of added sugar, contributing to an astounding 44% of added sugar in the American Diet.
Some drinks marketed as “healthy drinks,” such as fruit juices or smoothies, can similarly contain an astounding amount of it. Calories from drinks are not recognized by your body the same way it does for food, so people who consume drinks do not eat less to compensate for it. Studies have consistently shown that reduced sugar drink intake can aid with weight loss.
Consuming less sugar isn’t as simple as just avoiding sweets. A massive amount of added sugar can be hidden behind foods we consider unlikely to have a high sugar quantity, such as granola bars, breakfast cereals, and dried fruit. It isn’t easy to find added sugar through food labels. Currently, food labels do not differentiate between added sugar and natural sugar. To identify whether an item has added sugar, you would have to read through its ingredients list. It is also crucial to note sugar’s appearance on the list since ingredients are arranged with the highest percentage first.
All over the world, people love to gorge on sweets in any form. Celebrations are not complete without sweets. This is a sugar era; no one can escape this sugary world if you are not health conscious. Each and everything has added sugar that is toxic for the body and invites all sorts of ailments. Considering low sugar foods is a fantastic idea. Look for natural ways to substitute white sugar and keep it handy in your kitchen by buying bulk. You are never short of natural sweeteners, and ultimately you can stop using sugar daily.
Opt for homemade foods to ensure you are eating fresh, without adding extra sugar. Processed foods and canned products tend to have extra sugar. You have to consciously decide and stick to it to cut the sweetness in all your recipes starting from morning coffee, cookies, and bread. Choose cinnamon instead of mixing sugar in whole milk. Opt for plain greek yogurt and add fresh fruits for flavors. You can make it controlled by picking appropriate portions of food.
Check for the size of your kitchenware. If your drinking glasses are enormous and your plates are a little smaller, then it’s time to swap out your favorite dishes to control portions of sugary drinks. You may easily skip sugary sauces, such as ketchup, by making them at home by replacing its sugar with other natural sweeteners. Top your sandwiches with mashed avocado, mustard, hummus, sliced tomato, or shredded lettuce. You can always make dips without adding white sugar. Instead, use fruits, honey, delicious and healthy dates, or raisins.
Your smoothies, cakes, pancakes, and sauces give them a new innovative twist by adding fruits and nuts. While consuming liquids, you have to be extra careful as liquids go down well in the throat smoothly, without realizing the number of teaspoons of sugar you may be having. You can gradually replace your drinks with herbal teas, fruit-infused waters, and natural fruit juices diluted in water with no added sugar.