I am never one to recommend cutting out food groups or going on any kind of restrictive diet – it’s just not an effective long term solution. However, reducing your intake of sugar can be a small change that can have big results.
Sugar packs a lot of calories with not a lot of sustenance or nutritional benefit. It can send your energy and mood on a roller coaster ride that is hard to get off. In addition, as a result of it’s effect on your body, consuming sugar creates a need to consume more sugar.
Reducing your sugar intake can help stabilize mood and energy, will result in a reduction in overall calorie intake which can lead to weight loss, improve your digestion and reduce brain fog. The key, as always, is to make small, sustainable changes. Here are 10 easy ways you can reduce your sugar intake:
10 Tips For Reducing Sugar Intake
Some simple swaps in your day can add up to a big difference in your health
- Reduce the amount of sugar in the fluids you drink. Switch out sugary drinks for:
- Water or sparkling water with fruit slices, mint or cucumber
- Herbal or fruit teas (I find Bengal Spice tea to have a natural sweetness that can hit the spot).
- Coffee or black tea (decaf if you are consuming it in the afternoon)
- Smoothies – Blend up 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup berries, a scoop of low sugar protein powder and a handful of spinach
- Substitute a sugar filled dessert for:
- Plain greek yoghurt with cinnamon or fruit
- Baked fruit like peaches, apple, pears or plums
- A handful of dates (ensure any dried fruit is no sugar added)
- A couple squares of dark chocolate (75% or higher)
- Try chewing on fennel seeds – they are naturally sweet, reduce belly bloat & acts as an appetite suppressant (it may sound strange but give it a try, you might surprise yourself)
- Substitute a sugary snack for:
- A handful of frozen grapes or other frozen fruit
- A handful of unsalted nuts
- Jerky (ensure it is no sugar added jerky)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Fresh fruit – especially berries
- Apple slices and nut butter
- Smoothie – see basic recipe above
- Cinnamon or nutmeg can be great substitutions for added sugar and add a lot of flavour
- Reduce or eliminate diet drinks – while artificial sweeteners provide a sweet hit with zero calories, they actually cause the body to crave more sweets
- Start your day with a high protein breakfast or just add a little time to your fast – eating a high carbohydrate or high sugar breakfast starts your day with a blood sugar spike that can create sugar cravings all day
- Switch out sugar with applesauce in recipes (using equal amounts)
- Reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Keeping carbohydrates to 40% or less of your daily intake will help reduce cravings for sugar while still providing nutrients and fiber.
- Increase your intake of protein and healthy fats. Aim for 30% for each to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce cravings
- Get rid of the temptation – keep sugary trigger foods out of the house or at least out of sight.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep – Aim for 7-9 hours. Your body craves sugar as a quick energy source when you are tired.
As you can see, many of these tips are simple swaps not eliminations. I find this strategy to require a lot less willpower. Cravings are satisfied while you work towards your goals! Win-win!
Looking for more fitness and nutrition ideas? Check out the other articles in the blog here
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