The nutrition sphere has many “scarecrows” nowadays: fat, carbs, red meat… Usually, they are entirely innocent foods, that are presented as “bad” to the public because of old superstitions or misunderstood studies. However some of these “scarecrows” are known as being unhealthy for a reason, and one of them is sugar. Sugar is known to hurt your health for a number of reasons, so this begs the question: how to reduce your sugar intake?
But before we dive into that question, let’s first understand why exactly is sugar bad?
Sugar: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
First of all, what is sugar? Sugar is a type of carbohydrate, that is present in many foods. Some foods, for example fruits such as apples, have naturally occurring sugars in them, and this is why we should differentiate between two types of sugar: naturally occuring and added.
Naturally occuring sugars are sugars end up naturally in a fruit. Foods that often contain those are fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. These are found alongside other micro and macro elements, such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Added sugars are usually included in processed foods, and are added to make our food taste better. These come usually in the form of glucose (white/brown sugar), high fructose corn syrup and other high calorie sweetners, and are found in almost all processed foods: snacks, beverages, sauces… But what is the problem with that?
While some levels of sugar are a healthy source of energy for our body, excessive added sugar is most definitely a threat. Some of the health complications it can cause is tooth decay, diabetes, heart problems, energy crashes, and weight gain.
Weight gain is especially dangerous, as almost 36.5% of Americans are obese nowadays, added sugar being one of the major reasons for that problem. Fortunately it is reversible, by a caloric deficit and fitness, particularly when enhanced by natural weight loss supplements such as Tea Burn, but added sugar is still remains a threat to public health. So how to actually reduce your sugar intake?
How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake?
1. Reduce/Remove the Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages from Your Diet
Yes, we all already heard that soda is bad, however it remains the largest source of added sugar in an average American diet – almost 24% of added sugar comes from it on average.
On the bright side of things, this is also a source of added sugar that is the easiest to replace with a healthier alternative. Fortunately we live in the 21st century, and almost every drink has it’s sugar free substitute. Although the question “Are sugar free drinks are good for you or not?” still remains unanswered, it is quite definite that beverages with added sugar are worse.
2. Fruits not Snacks
Yes, even the best of us have a sweet tooth sometimes, but it is not about getting an urge, it is about how you decide to deal with it. Instead of hungrily rummaging through supermarket shelves to find the most unhealthy, added sugar filled dessert, try to satisfy your food with an alternative with less added sugar.
Personally, my go to low cal alternative is apples. They are sweet, crunchy, take time to eat and leave even a big eater such as myself with a feeling that I have eaten something substantial. But this is not the only way to satisfy your craving! Any other fruit, a couple squares of dark chocolate or a spoon of honey can do the trick.
3. Avoid “Health Halo” Foods by Looking at the Label
The same way some foods are unjustly labeled as unhealthy, other foods unjustly have a “Health Halo” – a popular perception of them as being “healthy”.
A prime example of this is granola – innocently looking grains that are absolutely flooded with added sugars. Juices are another common example. Although they present themselves as being natural, showing pictures of fruits on its packaging, they often have a ton of added sugars in them.
The Solution? Look at the label, and see how much added sugar the product actually contains. Although your intuition might be saying to you that something is healthy, there is really no way to know unless you check it out yourself.
Welcome to the 21st century – added sugar is everywhere. In order to avoid its excessive consumption, you should focus on healthy substitutions and pay more attention to labels.