Easy Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar lurks everywhere! And once you’re aware of how often it pops up in your favorite foods and drinks it is easy to understand how most people double their suggested sugar intakes every day.
The maximum amount of sugars that females should ingest daily is roughly 25 grams, while men can ingest nearly 37 grams. These numbers are often doubled or tripled because of all the hidden sugars in our foods, which cause high weight gain, bad cholesterol, and an increase in your risk of having a heart attack while giving you wrinkled, inflamed, and dry skin.
Reducing your daily sugar intake is a must for anyone looking to have a healthier and longer life.
Forget the Drinks
One of the biggest mistakes we make as consumers is drinking tremendous amounts of sugar. With the exception of water, almost every popular beverage contains insane amounts of sugar. A single 12 oz. can of Coke has 30-plus grams of sugar—that’s more than your suggested daily intake with just one drink!
Sodas aren’t the only culprits to keep an eye on. A glass of milk has 10 grams, a bottle of Gatorade has 14 grams, and sweet tea has more than 69 grams of sugar in each serving. The number of sugars we consume through drinks is truly disheartening (not to mention a little scary), so make an easy change and substitute water for any drink with fun colors, carbonated bubbles, or addicting caffeine.
Read Your Labels
Dietary labels should be your best friend. They can be a tad overwhelming and difficult to decode, but ultimately they’re there to assist you in making healthier decisions. Reading labels helps you understand the massive amount of sugar pumped into nearly every item we buy—tomato sauce, breads, and even your favorite salad dressing. If sugar, or one of its code names, is near the top of the label’s list, it means it’s one of the biggest ingredients. By simply reading your labels you can start to cut out foods and drinks that have unnecessarily high amounts of processed sugars.
Reading labels also allows you to continuously enjoy foods you like. If you like peanut butter and really just can't give it up, but you'd be willing to switch brands, to maybe one without 10 grams of sugar in each serving, you can decrease your sugar intake and still eat some of your favorite foods. It's easy to cut out unwanted sugars once you know where they're hiding.
Learn Sugar’s Code Names
Our last tip to reduce your daily sugar intake is to decode sugar’s label aliases. After you’ve begun reading labels you’ll start to see that ‘sugar’ is not always listed so bluntly. Other names like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, cane syrup, honey, and really anything ending in –ose is usually sugar related are used to disguise how much sugar is actually present. Instead of labeling 20 grams of sugar/sweetener, the label can include 10 grams of high fructose corn syrup, 5 grams of honey, and 5 grams of sucrose all separated out (for a full name breakdown, check out healthy eating’s Different Words for Sugar on Food Labels).
Like label reading, learning sugar’s code names helps you weed out some of the sugars lurking in your favorite food items. By educating yourself on sugar’s code names, you can be better prepared to make healthier and smarter decisions at the grocery store.
Cook at Home With the Right Ingredients
If you’re serious about cutting out unnecessary sugars, start meal planning rather than dining out four-plus times a week. Take the next step in your healthy journey by cooking your own food. Cooking at home eliminates all of the processed sugars commonly put into fast foods and many store-bought items.
And using a natural sweetener like Lakanto can transform any dish that requires traditional sugars into a healthier, but still delicious, food option that keeps you safe from weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other serious health risks sugar causes.
Starting to cut down on your daily sugar intakes is a worthwhile step in the direction toward a healthier diet, and more importantly a healthier body and mind.