How to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet
While there was not a significant increase in obesity among adults or children from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, more than 1/3 of adults are obese and about 17% of children are obese. With the prevalence of sugar in the American diet, if people reduce sugar in their diet, this may impact the obesity statistics.
The good news, according to a new Reuters poll, is that people are taking conscious steps to decrease the amount of sugar in their diet in response to the new USDA dietary guidelines released in January, 2016.
The new guidelines suggest that Americans decrease sugar intake to 10% of their daily caloric intake, which is about a 1/3 reduction for most Americans. The sugar crisis continues because sugary drinks and foods are not satisfying and leave us craving more sweets, while displacing our hunger for nourishing and nutrient-rich foods like lean meats, quality fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. But, no matter what your personal health goals are, eliminating the dangers of sugar can be a step in the right direction toward building optimal health.
10 Ways to Reduce Sugar in Your Diet
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid packaged, processed foods. Salad dressings, soups, sauces, and even bread contain high amounts of processed sugar. Sticking to the perimeter of the store will help you choose fresh, natural foods instead.
- Eating foods that are naturally sweet will help you cut down on the amount of added, processed sugar you consume.
- Avoid sugary drinks like coffee, soda, tea and energy drinks that typically contain a lot of added sugar. If you drink smoothies or juice, look for 100% fruit smoothies and juice. Add your own sugar to your tea or coffee using cubes or packets and, if you use cream, use half-and-half rather than the sweetened, flavored coffee creamers.
- Choose quality over quantity if you choose to eat sweet treats. Choosing dark chocolate, or making homemade baked goods will allow you to control the amount of added sugar.
- Pack your own snacks, keeping a few treats like almonds or dried fruit with you to reduce the urge to snack on candy or other sugary foods while you’re at work or on-the-go.
- Read labels looking for sugar (or a form of sugar) that is listed in the first five ingredients. If sugar makes the top five, make a different choice.
- Start and end wisely by avoiding sugary foods in the morning and ending each meal with a piece of fruit.
- Choose foods in water, not syrup, when buying canned fruit and veggies. Canned foods in heavy syrups typically contain a lot of added sugar.
- Cook at home and reduce the amount of added sugar in recipes. Try halving the amount of sugar used in most recipes or substituting a natural sugar instead of refined sugar.
- Take it slow and don’t try to cut out sugar cold turkey, rather start by reducing the amounts you eat little by little and you will be much more successful.