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Last Updated on February 16, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster
January has come and gone and New Year's Resolutions are falling by the wayside. Lent is coming up and people are trying to decide what they should give up. Bathing suit season is fast approaching and fewer pounds on the scale might be a nice thing to see. All of these issues combined make it a great reason to look for ways to reduce sugar intake in your diet. But, maybe you think that you don't really eat a lot of sugar. You don't snack on cookies all day and you buy only the healthiest of cereals on the shelf. How much sugar are you really eating? You would be surprised at how much sugar is in the Standard American Diet. I am going to share a few easy ways to reduce your sugar intake without completely losing your mind.
6 Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake without Losing Your Mind
Skip the juice: Juice is honestly not much more than sugar water with a little fruit flavor. Instead of pouring yourself a glass of juice in the morning, choose herbal tea and a piece of fruit. Whole fruit provides much more fiber and nutrients than a glass of juice.
Choose yogurt wisely: You might think that yogurt is a healthy food, right? Well, if you are looking for ways to reduce sugar intake, you need to be very careful about the yogurt you choose. Many of the varieties on the shelf contain a lot of sugar. You are much better off buying plain Greek yogurt and sweetening it with a little maple syrup and cinnamon. Yes, maple syrup is still sugar but you can add only a small amount and will be using less in the long term than if you bought the presweetened varieties.
Become a label reader: Just like the yogurt situation above, sugar resides in a LOT of processed foods. You would be amazed at how much sugar you will find in a bowl of seemingly healthy granola or even your box of seasoned rice mix. Start looking at nutrition labels before you buy. Cook from scratch instead of buying premade mixes and you will reduce your sugar intake quite a bit without even trying.
Know what you are looking for: Many food labels don't just call sugar 'SUGAR'. Look for things like high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (or any word ending in "-ose"), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup. These can be listed separately on ingredients lists, so many foods, even seemingly healthy ones like yogurt and cereal, may contain three or four different types of sweetener.
Learn to enjoy water: Okay, I know that soda and sweet tea are delicious but they are LOADED with sugar. If you are looking for ways to reduce your sugar intake, ditching the sweetened beverages is the first place you should start. If you have a sweet tea addiction, slowly start diluting it with unsweetened tea to get yourself used to the new flavor. If you are a soda addict, don't be tempted to grab a diet cola. Artificial sweeteners have their own set of health problems. If you really can't give up soda, try choosing a natural soda that is sweetened with Stevia. It will still soothe your sweet tooth without loading you up on chemical sweeteners. You should eventually be choosing water to quench your thirst and leaving the other beverages as an occasional treat.
Choose more protein and vegetables: Fruit is delicious and very healthy but it is also loaded with sugar. Replacing a piece of fruit with a handful of raw vegetables will reduce your sugar intake. Boost your intake of lean meats, fresh vegetables, and nuts and your sugar intake will drop. Obviously, there is no need to give up fruit entirely! But, stick to one or two servings a day and fill in the extra spaces with vegetables and other healthy but less sweet options.
According to Forbes magazine, the average American eats 3 POUNDS of sugar every single week. Do you have any idea how much that actually is? Go to the grocery store and pick up a bag of sugar and then imagine how much you are actually eating over your lifetime. Start looking for ways to reduce sugar intake and you will be amazed at much healthier you look and feel after a few weeks!
Do you have any other tips to reduce sugar intake?
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without a lot of sugar? Try these tropical frozen yogurt bites!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.