As much as we all love a bit (or a lot!) of sugar now and then, it’s time to start saying no to sugar cravings and reduce our sugar intake.
Sugar is the primary cause of many worrying health problems. Yet despite this, little is being done to help us keep our sugar intake low and avoid added sugars.
Our 5 tips to help you reduce sugar intake are so effortless you’ll be avoiding sugar quicker than you can say "piece of cake!”
Why Reduce Sugar Intake?
Sugary snacks and drinks continue to stack up in our grocery stores. The sugar industry is still producing 8.4 million metric tons a year (that’s just in America alone) and our daily sugar intake is still too high.
The worst bit?
Even foods labeled as healthy can contain sugar levels that are way over the suggested daily sugar intake. How to avoid added sugars? Well, it’s not so difficult when you can make small lifestyle adjustments that create a big difference when trying to avoid added sugars.
Suggested Daily Sugar Intake
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 100 calories per day (6 teaspoons of sugar) for women and 150 calories per day for men (9 teaspoons). Some of you might perceive this as generous, others as limiting, but the key to tracking is to stay clear of processed foods and make food from scratch to monitor sugar intake. If you’re wondering how much sugar intake is healthy – stick with the 6 teaspoons. On top of that, follow our 5 steps to reduce your sugar intake and avoid added sugars easily.
How to Avoid Added Sugars in Your Diet
1. Stay away from “fat-free” foods
Ah, fat-free foods hurray! Now I can eat all my favorite foods but the healthier version won't make me gain weight. Right? Not quite true...
Did you ever pause to wonder how manufacturers manage to produce fat-free versions of foods, yet they still taste exactly the same? Sugar is the answer. It may not make sense at first- why then, you ask, is my reduced-fat cheddar cheese still deliciously savory? Well because manufacturers know what they are doing, and they know what you like the taste of. Fat is what makes products like yogurt and cheese taste good. Something has to replace the fat to make it taste just as nice. Usually this will be large quantities of either sugar or salt.
Reduce sugar intake by staying clear of fat-free foods and stick to smaller quantities of the real thing.
2. Start the day savory
If you love sweet breakfasts, try switching it up every now and then with a savory option. If you think this is a hard feat- you might be addicted to sugar! Eating sweet foods early in the morning is more likely to make you want more sweet things throughout the day. One because you’ve already got the taste for sweet things. Two because too much sugar early in the day can cause energy crashes later in the day. Crashes that can only be satisfied by – you got it- sugar.
3. Cut out liquid calories
Sweet-flavored drinks are the pits of sugary goods. If anything, sugary drinks are one of the biggest contributors to our daily sugar intake, but also one of the easiest to avoid. Firstly, stay well and clear of all sodas. The average can of soda contains 8 to 13 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounces. Bearing in mind supersize fast food options can go up to and beyond 42 ounces, this screams red flag.
Another group of liquid calories to avoid is fruit juices. Now, natural pressed fruit juices are NOT bad for you. But they are in large quantities. To avoid portion control confusion and reduce sugar- stick to eating whole fruits. Lastly, switch tablespoons of sugar in tea and coffee for sweeteners. That way you can freely sip your favorite drinks while keeping your sugar intake low.
4. Reduce the servings
If you are going to cheekily indulge in a few sweet treats every now and then, make it guilt-free by controlling your portion sizes. Store-bought products don’t make this easy to reduce sugar intake, but if you’re baking from home, cut the recipe size in half. Similarly, if you’re going out for a bite to eat, why not share a dessert? By reducing your serving sizes you don’t have to use the not-so-mighty willpower to control your sugar cravings. The work is done for you!
If you’re feeling lazy you can always shop for healthy sugar-free treats like our peanut butter cups. That way, you’re reducing sugar found in a regular serving with a much healthier low-carb option.
5. Don’t shop hungry
Finally, do yourself a favor- don’t shop hungry. When we go to the shops hungry we see something sweet that looks good and the next minute it’s in our refrigerator. Better yet, write a shopping list that you can reference again and again. That way, no sweet treats end up sneaking into your cart and you won't be standing wondering how to avoid added sugars. We have a whole-food, vegan-friendly shopping list you can download for FREE HERE that might help you.
It might seem like the world is against us in the feat to reduce sugar intake but it’s not all bad. Stick to whole foods where possible, reduce your consumption of high sugar foods, and track your sugar intake.
That way, you can easily avoid sneaky added sugars and can better understand what foods you can eat, and which ones you should be avoiding.