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5 Simple Tricks to Reduce Sugar Intake

Written by Dr. Stephen Motze

sugar cubes in glassHow much sugar are you consuming on a weekly basis? When trying to minimize your dietary sugar intake, it’s important to know that there are over 30 disguises that sugar uses on a product’s ingredients list. While not all equal in amounts and effects on the body, they do have cumulative effects, as they are all used for purposes including stabilizers, preservatives, and flavor enhancers.

Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, can trick the body into thinking you have just ingested something sweet, and in turn, the body will release a hormone called insulin. This leads to increased fat storage, increased appetite, and other negative effects on the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis (optimal regulation of bodily functions) and overall health. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your chances of developing diabetes-related problems and various cardiovascular diseases.

The American Heart Association has found that Americans consume an average 77 grams of sugar per day, which translates to roughly 60 pounds per year! We want to live happier and healthier lives, so let’s dive into 5 simple tricks to reduce our sugar intake.

Five Simple Tricks to Reduce Sugar Intake

First Trick

The first is to cut back on sugary drinks including sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, alcohol, and even fruit juices. A 20-ounce Gatorade contains about 36 grams of sugar, a 12-ounce Coca-Cola contains around 39 grams of sugar, and even those refreshing Arizona Iced Teas contain 24 grams of sugar per 8 ounces. Many people switch to diet soda believing they have cut all the “bad” sugar out, when in fact, they have now simply added in the artificial sweeteners I mentioned earlier. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that consumption of diet sodas correlates with an increased risk of a wide range of medical conditions. Replace these sugary drinks with healthier beverage options such as water, unsweetened sparkling water, black, green, or herbal teas.

Second Trick

The second trick is to reduce sugary desserts, as they tend to provide little to no nutritional value. Now, if you love desserts and have a sweet tooth like me, it is okay to indulge every once in a while, but try some of these alternatives instead: fresh fruit, Greek yogurt with cinnamon or fruit, baked fruit with cream, and dark chocolate.

Third Trick

The third trick involves the most important meal of the day. If you aren’t paying attention to your breakfast, you may want to start now, as popular breakfast foods, including pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cereals are loaded with added sugar. Look for foods with no added sugar or try low sugar content breakfast options such as oatmeal with fruit, egg whites, and whole food smoothies or shakes.

Fourth Trick

The fourth trick is to avoid condiments and sauces with added sugar. Ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and barbecue sauce contain high amounts of hidden sugars within their ingredient lists. Look for products labeled “no sugar added” or use natural seasonings such as herbes, spices, and mustards to keep the sugar content low while also increasing flavor.

Fifth Trick

The fifth trick is for the coffee drinkers. Flavored creamers and most drinks at Starbucks and Dunkin contain high amounts of sugar, so opt for black coffee or try these alternative ways to sweeten your drink. Use vanilla extract, mint, unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, or cocoa powder. If you still prefer a sweeter cup of coffee, try unprocessed maple syrup or honey.

Reducing your sugar intake can lead to a happier and healthier you, so try some of these tricks and make them stick in your daily routine!


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