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5 Tips to Cut Out Added Sugar

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i think i’m addicted to sugar. i really can’t remember the last day that i didn’t have something that wasn’t sweet and i’m not talking something that is naturally sweet i’m talking about the sweets that aren’t good for you. coming right off of easter and the loads of candy that filled our baskets, my mom loves to overdo it and i love her for that, doesn’t make it any easier to stay away.

it makes sense that i could have a sugar addiction as i love myself a sweet treat; candy, ice cream, a donut, you name it if it’s sweet i probably could be tempted to have one, scientists have found that sugar is addictive and actually stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as heroin and cocaine (source).

i’ve tried cutting out sweets before and it didn’t work, but here i am attempting to do it all over again. i felt by putting it out here where everyone can see will hopefully help me stay more accountable.

in order for me to really make a change with my sugar intake i needed to understand the differences between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar and what it does to my body. naturally occurring sugars are the sugars found in whole, unprocessed foods (like milk, fruit and vegetables). added sugars are sugars added to unprocessed foods while they are being made. if you eat or drink too much added sugar you can develop multiple health problems; tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, etc. added sugars are considered empty calories and if you eat too many you may also gain weight. so what are some ways we can cut out those pesky added sugars? read on for my five tips below…

1. read the back of the box. look at the nutritional info and ingredients list. choosemyplate.gov has a helpful table that shows you, based on your age, how many empty calories you should limit yourself to a day. when looking at the nutritional info it’s good to keep in mind that 1 gram of sugar equals 4 calories. also added sugar can come in a variety of names so when you are looking at the ingredients list watch out for high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup and fruit juice concentrates among others.

2. pick up a naturally sweet snack instead. fruits and veggies can make for a satisfying treat.

3. choose water. pass on that can of soda or glass of fruit juice and choose a glass of water instead. try sprucing up your water by adding some slices of fruit. pinterest has some excellent ideas for different fruit-infused water recipes.

4. get it out of the house. just get rid of it or don’t buy it. if it’s not easily accessible you won’t be as tempted.

5. be active. go for a walk. get outside and play. get to the gym. keep your mind and body busy and you will be less likely to pick up that piece or candy or bowl of ice cream. the last thing i want to do after a work out is ruin it by snacking on something unhealthy.

not only do i want to make changes to benefit my own health, but i also want to be a good example for my family as well. so here we go, day one. i know it’s not going to be easy, but here’s to making better choices. how do you minimize added sugar in your diet? i’d love to hear some other suggestions and tips!

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