How To Cut Down Sugar Intake
By Cassandra Marx
If youíre trying to lose weight or just eat a healthier diet, cutting down on sugar is a great place to start. The average American consumes about three pounds of sugar every week, about six times the maximum recommended allowance.
Here are a few ways to start getting sugar out of your food:
1. Donít add sugar to your food. Try adding berries or bananas to your cereal instead of sugar. You should try to avoid drinking tea or coffee, but if you must, drink it without sugar. Try reducing the amount of sugar slowly, until you donít need to add it at all.
2. Add protein to each meal. Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. A 150 lb/68 kg person doesn't need more than 80-85g of protein per day, and one ounce of any meat contains 7g of protein. But protein doesn't necessarily mean meat: legumes, nuts, and seeds are all excellent vegetarian sources of protein.
3. Instead of soda and juice, drink water. One can of soda contains 9-10 tablespoons of sugar! Even 100% fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, without the fiber of the whole fruit. Switch to water or skim milk instead. Instead of drinking juice, eat fresh fruit.
4. Read the nutrition labels and ingredients lists. Watch out for hidden sugars. Honey, molasses, corn syrup and maple syrup all contribute sugar. Look for words ending in "ose" like fructose and dextrose - these are other forms of sugar. And many "sugar-free" products contain sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. These contain just as many (if not more!) calories as sugar and can cause you diarrhea, too.
5. For snack and desserts, choose fresh fruit instead of sugary sweets. Sugar is important to provide fuel and energy to your body, but should be consumed in its natural form. Fruits contain fiber and nutrients that prevent the sugar from metabolizing so quickly, which keeps your blood sugar levels more stable.
Also remember to divide your carbohydrate "budget" up over the day - try to eat three meals and two to four snack. This will keep your blood sugar levels more even and provide more continuous energy.