Eating too much sugar has been linked to several health conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, dental plaque and cavities. Foods with natural sugar such as fruits, milk and cheese provides essential nutrients and may help prevent diseases. However, the added sugars in processed food including desserts, soda, ice cream, yogurt, ketchup and salad dressings, can lead to weight gain, obesity and spikes in blood sugar.
Controlling the amount of sugar we eat is crucial and can protect us on the long term. Here are 5 practical tips to help you reduce sugar intake:
1- Don’t drink sugar
Avoiding sugary drinks such as Nutritionistationuae sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, sweetened tea and coffee, can help you reduce your sugar intake. Try replacing those drinks with water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea or black coffee.
2- Avoid sugar-loaded desserts
Desserts are loaded with sugar which causes blood sugar spikes and keeps you hungry, craving more sugar. Swapping those desserts for fruits, dark chocolate, or dates will reduce your sugar intake and increase fiber, vitamins and minerals in your diet.
3- Eat whole food
Processed food such as desserts, pizzas, cereals and soft drinks contains refined ingredients and added sugar. However whole food such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts and seeds, have not been processed or refined. They are also free of artificial substances including flavours, colours, emulsifiers and additives.
4- Read labels
Sugars hide in many products such as salad dressing, canned food, pasta sauces, breakfast cereals, granola or protein bars. Reading the labels and choosing a low-sugar product high in protein and fiber will help you reduce your sugar intake and makes feel full for longer.
5- Consider natural sweeteners
If you are struggling to cut down sugar, natural sweeteners such as stevia, xylitol and erythritol, are very low in calorie and taste very sweet. Small amounts of these sweeteners can be added to your coffee, tea or oatmeal to fight sugar cravings.
Finally, sugar can be incredibly harmful and can cause many chronic diseases. Try to reduce sugar-loaded drinks and desserts and be aware of the hidden sugar in processed food to be fully in control of your sugar intake.
Mariam Fadlallah, Kcal NutritionistWritten by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director