Pretty soon you won't even miss it!
It comes as no surprise that Americans consume more grams of sugar than they need. This shows itself in our rising numbers of obesity, high blood sugar, and other health issues. One study on added sugars states that the average American consumes around 17 teaspoons of added sugars on any given day. This is way above the American Heart Association’s recommended 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 for men. That’s a lot of extra calories you don’t need! When you know what to look for, it’s easier than you think to learn how to cut sugar from your diet.
So how do you get from the extreme end to the recommended end? While it won’t be easy during the process, giving yourself the best foundation to fight some preventable health issues is completely worth it!
How Do I Train My Brain to Stop Eating Sugar?
First, you need to take into account your personality and how you work. If you are someone who struggles with having gray areas and need to have set rules in order to follow through, you may want to try cutting out added sugars cold turkey. You can get a head start with our 7-Day Zero Added Sugar Meal Plan!
If you prefer a more gradual approach, you can start taking little steps to cut added sugars out of your diet. If a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, only put in ½ a cup. You can also try substituting non-sweetened applesauce in and see if anyone even notices the difference.
Why is it so Hard to Stop Eating Sugar?
While you might feel that you are just out of control with your sweet tooth and that your taste buds can never be tamed, science has proven that sugar addiction is a real thing! Part of it is from our society putting in so many added sugars and artificial sweeteners to the overprocessed and packaged foods that we eat.
Our bodies have adjusted to eating too much sugar, and now we feel like we can’t live without it. The next time you think about eating something full of sugar, we challenge you to write down what you’re feeling. Are you tired, stressed, bored, or actually hungry? Learning about our sugar cravings and how to stop them head-on will be important in laying the foundation to stop eating added sugars.
What Should I Eat to Cut Out Sugar?
We know that we are eating too much sugar. We know that there are added sugars in many of our favorite foods. What should we eat to cut out the extra sugar in our diets?
First, you need to learn how to read the ingredient list on food labels and look for the many names of sugar that are often hiding in plain sight. There will be words you associate with sugar, such as syrup and sweetener. There will also be words that aren’t as well-known, such as high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey, agave nectar, molasses, and glucose. Unlike the ingredient label, your body doesn’t differentiate between these sugars. It just sees them all as unnecessary calories.
Ensuring that you are giving your body the proper nutrients can help lower sugar cravings. Fill your plate each meal with enough protein, vegetables, and fiber so that you are not feeling hungry between meals. You can also add healthy fats such as nuts and avocados. Eating whole, unprocessed foods also offers a great balance of vitamins and minerals in your system.
A few things you can use to give your meals some added flavor without adding sugar include:
- Herbs and Spices
Check out our Best Foods to Eat When Giving Up Sugar for some inspiration to get you started!
How to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet Gradually
If you are looking to stop sugar cravings for good but want to cut it out gradually, there are many small changes you can make. A lot of the added sugars that you are taking in come from the “extras,” not the core foods in your diet.
Most Americans are getting a lot of their added sugars from sugary drinks. A few prime examples include:
- Energy drinks
- Soft Drinks
- Fruit Juices
- Sweetened Coffees and other Specialty Drinks
Each time you go to grab your favorite energy drink or soda, have a bottle of water instead. If you still want the drink after the water, then go ahead and have it, but you might find you no longer need it.
Barbecue sauces, ketchup, or other pasta sauces are also constantly adding extra calories of added sugar into your diet. Try flavoring your food with more natural alternatives such as lemon or lime juice or fresh herbs and spices. You can even make your own homemade pasta sauce that will give you all of the flavors without all of the added sugar and extra ingredients!
There are also the more obvious sources of added sugar, such as candy, cakes, cookies, and other desserts. If you are eating a dessert after every meal, try and cut it down to only after one meal. Your tastebuds have the ability to adjust as you change your diet. If you can consistently cut back on your sugar intake, you will eventually not even crave it.
The Benefits of Cutting Sugar From My Diet
When you are over your recommended dietary guidelines for added sugars, you put yourself at risk for major health issues. These include, but are not limited to, diabetes, high blood sugar levels, heart disease, and weight gain.
On the other side, if you work on cutting out added sugars from your diet and balancing all of your macro and micronutrients, you can experience great health benefits! Your body doesn’t actually need a single ounce of added sugar to function correctly. You can get all of the sugars you need naturally from fruits and other whole foods.
If you find yourself craving something sweet and are looking for new foods to add to your diet, we hope you will try out a few of our favorite low-sugar recipes! All of these clock in at under 4 grams of sugar per serving!
- Low-Carb Avocado Breakfast Cups
- Pecan-Crusted Chicken
- Cranberry Seed Bars
- 5 Minute Peanut Butter Fudge
- At Home Cold Brew
- Sweet Potato Pancakes
- Herb-Roasted Nuts
- Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
- Chocolate Hummus Fruit Dip
If you like what you see and are looking for even more inspiration to cut added sugars from your diet, be sure and follow us on Facebook and start your own Low-Sugar Food Board from our awesome Pinterest account!