We are all told that we should reduce our sugar intake wherever possible.
Although sugar itself is not unhealthy, there is a limit to the amount you should be consuming. In particular, it is this processed sugar that can cause problems within the body if consumed in too high amounts.
This is because a high intake of processed sugar, such as sugars found in soda and sweets, had been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and gum disease.
It’s recommended that less than 10% of your daily calorie intake comes from processed sugar. However, this is often easier said than done.
Many people struggle to reduce their sugar consumption because they crave the sweetness of their favorite sodas or sweets. The low-sugar alternatives just don’t taste as good!
If you’re trying to cut the amount of processed sugar in your diet, here are some of the best ways you can do so to ensure you stay well below the 10% limit.
Swap Sugar for Sweeteners
There are lots of sweeteners on the market that are low-calorie and free of sugar. Some of the artificially-made sweeteners have been linked to gut dysbiosis and weight gains, such as aspartame and sucralose.
However, choosing natural alternatives, such as monk fruit sweetener, stevia, and erythritol, do not appear to cause the same negative health consequences.
Use natural sweeteners to sweeten your hot drinks or breakfast cereals. You can also use sweeteners in any baking you do to make your home-made sweet treats healthier and less sugary.
Cut Down on the Sugary Drinks
Most of the sodas and energy drinks available in stores today are packed full of sugar. Companies purposely add excess sugar to increase the palatability of their products so more people buy them.
It’s not just the sodas and sports drinks that you should be concerned about. Even smoothies and flavored teas can contain large amounts of hidden sugars.
Many of the calories in these drinks come from the sugar itself, and they are absorbed much more quickly than the sugars found in food, which can cause a rapid increase in your blood sugar levels.
It’s always good practice to check the labels on these products before you buy them to see how much sugar they contain. Some great alternatives that have much lower sugar content include still or unsweetened sparkling water, green tea, and coffee.
Eat Full-Fat Foods
Often, low-fat products are seen as a great option if you’re trying to cut down on calories and lose weight. However, most of the time, these fat-free products contain the same amount, if not more sugar, than their full-fat alternatives.
To ensure their products still look and taste great, many companies replace fat with sugar. This means that lots of your favorite low-fat spreads, dressings, and yogurts can have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels and may increase your risk of weight gain and obesity.