Sugar is tasty. We are not going to sit here and tell you it is not. In moderation it can be a nice little treat on occasion. The problem is most of us indulge way more than we should (often without even realizing it), and it can have some dire consequences. Too much sugar can and does literally kill us because of its link to increased weight which then connects to other underlying health issues.
To paint a clearer picture, the American Heart Association recommends women should only have about six teaspoons of added sugar per day. However, most people are consuming between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar per day, nearly four to five times the recommended amount. Yikes.
It may seem like a daunting task and to some degree that is a true statement, but it is possible to cut back on the sweets. (We do not want to suggest totally taking them away because deprivation only makes you want something more.) The biggest piece of the puzzle is making sure you are more mindful about what is going into your body in the first place.
Being more mindful of what you consume will have its easy points. Obviously, you may want to consider cutting back on that soda you have every day, or that candy in the bowl at the front desk, but there are a lot of foods that are sneaky. That fat free snack you like? A lot of times the fat that’s been removed is replaced with a ton of sugar so it is important to read labels to make sure you don’t receive a nasty surprise all the while believing you are making better choices.
Putting Sugar Addiction to Bed
Sometimes simply thinking about making better day-to-day choices is not enough and a more solid plan of action is necessary. We have you covered.
1. Start your day right. Eating a healthy, balanced meal earlier in the day (breakfast) can have a major impact on how much you crave sugar later in the day. Oatmeal, eggs and fruit are all healthy options that can fill you up to decrease the snack bug as the day moves along. It is also important to note that the more you train yourself to eat healthy, less sugary food, the less you will crave it.
2. Don’t keep sugary food in your house. If you know you have a tendency to go after the junk food in your house versus the healthy food, an easy option to ween yourself off sugar is to simply not have it around. Chances are you won’t make a special trip to get those cookies, or that soda—especially if your stock your home with fruit instead.
3. Watch the labels. You would be surprised where sugar can lurk. Foods (beef jerky anyone?) that you wouldn’t think contain sugar can have a ton of it. That is why reading the labels of your favorite snack foods can be important if your are looking to significantly decrease your sugar intake. Make a point of avoiding foods that list sugar as the first ingredient or list several different kinds of sugars in the ingredients—they more likely than not will blow your sugar intake for the day.
4. Sweeten food yourself. As we said earlier, sugar is tasty and in moderation is nothing to feel guilty about eating. Some foods and drinks could use the flavor boost, but buying them with sugar already in them can up your risk of having too much sugar. Buying unsweetened tea and adding a sprinkle of brown sugar, plain oatmeal or yogurt and drizzling some honey on the top are good options to still get that sweet taste without blowing your total intake for the day.