We all know that we should eat less sugar, but it seems like an impossible task. Sugar is in everything from soda to juice to granola bars to yogurt. And who would ever want to give up dessert?! It turns out that you don’t have to give up dessert or deprive yourself of the foods you love in order to reduce your sugar intake. It’s actually easier than you might think, and your body will thank you for it. Even if you don’t detox from sugar completely, reducing the amount you consume every day will do wonders for your skin, immune system, mood, sleep cycle, and waistline. Here are 10 easy ways to cut down on sugar. Try them out, and feel better than ever.
1. Reduce your sugar intake in stages. Chances are, you consume more sugar than you realize, so going cold turkey is not the way to go. Take small steps—first, cut out soda for a week, then sweetener in your coffee, and then packaged granola bars. It will become a more manageable task, and you’ll be more likely to succeed.
2. Read nutrition labels. Foods that are labeled “healthy,” “fat-free,” or “gluten-free” aren’t necessarily sugar-free. Sugar hides in ingredient labels under lots of different names, including corn syrup, cane crystals, malt syrup, and liquid fructose.
3. Cut out soda. Cut out soda (including diet!) to drastically reduce your sugar intake. If you’re craving caffeine, opt for green or black tea. If you crave soda for the fizzy sweetness, invest in a soda stream, or try our Zingy Pink Grapefruit Soda.
4. Choose wine or beer over mixed drinks. You don’t have to give up alcohol, but if you want to cut down on sugar, stick to beer and wine. Mixed drinks are often made with fruit juices, grenadine, and sweet syrups.
5. Have fresh fruit instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice is loaded with added sugar. Have a piece of fresh fruit to get the same taste with added nutritional benefits. Juice that you squeeze yourself is great too, as long as you don’t add sugar!
6. Swap out desserts for ones with natural sweeteners. Use natural, as opposed to refined, sugar when you cook and bake. Honey, molasses, maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, and agave are all great substitutes. Check out our dessert recipes for some ideas. But be careful—it’s not any better to overindulge on natural sweeteners than on refined ones.
7. Drink plenty of water. Your body can confuse thirst for hunger. When a serious sweets craving comes along, drink a whole glass of water, wait 15 minutes, and see if you’re actually hungry. Quite often, you’re not. Water also helps your metabolism running smoothly and naturally detoxes your body.
8. Snack. Make sure you’re eating enough during the day. If you’re trying to lose weight and cutting too many calories, you’ll start to crave sugar for the quick energy boost it gives you. Eat regularly throughout the day, and choose snacks that are high in protein and fiber. Try these 15 Weight Watchers Snack Recipes for natural, whole snack options.
9. Eat enough protein. If you don’t eat enough protein, you’ll crave sugar for a quick energy boost. Add lean protein to all of your meals to keep your blood sugar stable and sugar cravings at bay.
10. Get enough sleep. Exhaustion can lead to junk food cravings, so get a good night’s sleep to keep your body rested, energized, and happy. Getting to bed early will also curb late-night snacking, which usually involves sweet treats.