7 Ways to Cut the Sugar From Your Diet

08/24/2013

Fruit loops photoWe’ve talked a lot this week at Discovery about the toxicity of sugar. Research has shown that too much sugar causes heart disease, cancer, PMS, nervous disorders, diabetes, and it even makes you smell.

For me, the wake up call came when I watched Dr. Robert Lustig in his speech, Sugar the Bitter Truth. According to Lustig, the easiest way to prevent disease is to avoid sugar. 

How much sugar are you eating on a daily basis? Here's how to cut way back: 

1. Take a closer at breakfast.

Breakfast can mean sugary cereals, processed oatmeals with tons of added sugars, and granola bars that have so much sugar that they may as well be called candy bars. Instead, it’s best to make your own oats with coconut milk, nuts, fruit, and a little bit of added honey. This way you can control the amount of sugar you add. 

2. Read your yogurt labels.

We think of yogurt as a health food but if you read the nutritional labels, most yogurt can have as much as 35-40 grams of added sugar. That’s downright disgusting. Buy plain yogurt and add honey for a touch of sweetness. 

Condiments photo3. Be vigilant about condiments.

Condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and mayonnaise often have sugar or worse, high fructose corn syrup as their first ingredient. Don’t douse your food in condiments because in the end, you’re adding more sugar to your diet than you need.

4. Freeze fruit for dessert.

Instead of keeping sweets laying around the house, freeze fruit instead. It’s a tasty addition to any meal. I especially love frozen grapes. Make sugary desserts a special treat. Once in while going out to get ice cream is one thing but having it sitting around the house is quite another. 

5. Drink water and seltzer.

Beverages are over rated. It’s best to stick to water and the occasional seltzer water rather than soda, juice, and sports drinks. Sugar sweetened beverages are the most direct source of sugar and added calories in the standard American diet.

6. Eat a well rounded meal.

Eating a well rounded meal means you're less likely to crave dessert. Stick to a plant-based, whole foods diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy protein sources. 

7. Challenge yourself to go sugar-free.

When your sugar cravings are in full effect, sometimes it pays to quell them by cutting out sugar for a period of time. Cut out all sugars for 1 to 2 weeks to slow your cravings. Sugar is so rarely a part of my diet, that today when I eat it, it almost seems too sweet. 

Credit Both: Istockphoto/Thinkstock

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Read More: How Sugar Works in the Body To Cause Both Heart Disease and Cancer Growth


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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