When it comes to cutting back on calories and boosting your nutrition, one of the most obvious steps that you can take is to try to slash sugar from your diet as much as you possibly can. However, this sounds much easier than it actually is. The fact is that sugar (under many different names) is added to just about every packaged product on your grocery store shelves and in its fridges and freezers.
If you want to improve your health in earnest and greatly slash sugar that you are pouring into your body, then there are a number of smart tips that you can follow that will help you to get the job done.
The American Heart Association recommends that a maximum of six teaspoons of added sugar be consumed every day. That translates to about 100 calories worth of added sugar. For most of us, that will mean a considerable reduction in our current consumption. So take these tips to heart…so to speak:
• Read the labels on your food – you will be surprised at where you will start to find sugar. It’s not just added to foods that taste sweet. Crackers, tomato sauce, condiments, salad dressing, and virtually anything else in a package has had a sweetener of some form added to its ingredients. Pay attention to how much sugar is found in each of the food products that you typically buy and see if there are some alternatives that will offer lower levels.
• Learn about sugar’s other names – “Sugar” isn’t the only word used in an ingredients list. Look for words that end in “ose”, such as fructose, sucrose, and others. High fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, dried cane syrup, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup are also other names for added sugars that can rapidly add up and harm your healthy nutrition. You’ll rapidly discover that many products actually contain more than one type of sugar!
• Choose unsweetened alternatives – many products provide alternatives that say “unsweetened” or “no added sugar”. Look for those options whenever possible. Just make sure that the manufacturer didn’t load the product with salt or fat in order to help to compensate for the flavor that was removed with the sugar. That just replaces one problem with another.
As you slash sugar from your diet, remember that you’re trying to lower your intake to a healthier level. Going cold turkey will be extremely difficult and may cause you to give up, over time. It is better to have some added sugar and to stick to it than to try to slash it all away and to end up going back to old habits when it proves to be too much of a struggle.