One of the easiest ways to eat healthier is to cut back on sugar. If that seems easier said than done, then take note of these six must-know tips.
If you dream of doughnuts, stash your snack drawer with candy, and guzzle soda with every meal, you might have a sugar problem. And it’s not just in junk food; sugar is hiding even in “health” foods, such as peanut butter, pasta sauce, and salad dressing. Considering the American Heart Association recommends adults only eat 25 grams of added sugar per day for women, 38 grams for men, you can easily surpass that number with just one can of Coke (40 grams of the sweet stuff).
It may seem impossible to give up your favorite sweets, but it is doable. With principles outlined in the Zero Sugar Diet, you can kick your sugar habit to the curb, slim down, and go on to live a healthier life. Order your copy of the Zero Sugar Diet today, and get a jump-start on quitting sugar with the easy-to-follow tips below.
One of the best ways to curb your sugar cravings is to quit cold turkey. Eating sugar spikes your blood sugar, leading to an inevitable crash and leaving you wanting more sugar for a quick pick-me-up. By cutting out added sugars, your blood sugar will regulate and your body will start sending normal hunger cues. After just three days, you’ll break your sugar cravings and might just find your once-favorite sweet treats a little too sweet.
And be sure to read all of your labels: there are 61 names for sugar, so food companies try to disguise the sweet stuff. Even foods like pasta sauce, almond milk, and peanut butter can include added sugars. Make sure none of the 61 sugars are in any of your food for three days. If you’re confused as to what constitutes a sugar, check out the 61 names for sugar from the University of California San Francisco.
You may think giving up sugar can be as easy as switching to sugar-free alternatives such as diet soda, sugar-free candy, and protein bars that magically have zero grams of sugar. The problem with these foods is they are laced with artificial sweeteners, which trick your taste buds into thinking it’s actual sugar. This puts your sweet tooth into overdrive, making you crave more sugar. It’s also not great for your waistline; a 2015 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that drinking more diet soda was linked to increased belly fat.
While you’re ditching added sugars, make sure you get rid of your convenience foods, too. Processed foods like protein bars, crackers, and frozen dinners should be eliminated. Along with including added sugars, many of your favorite processed “health” foods also contain artificial sweeteners that can trigger your sugar cravings. Although desperate times may call for desperate measures—see: pasta sauce, nut butters, frozen veggies—make sure there are absolutely no added sugars and only a couple of ingredients. Peanut butter’s only ingredient should be peanuts, and pasta sauce should only have tomatoes, olive oil, onions, and some spices.
Fiber is an essential nutrient that can not only help you slim down but also fight your sugar cravings. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar and can prevent that dreaded sugar rush—and inevitable crash. It also helps you feel satiated and can curb those refined carb and sugar cravings. Although people should shoot for 30 grams of fiber per day, an important rule of thumb is to eat more fiber than sugar each day, even after your three-day sugar detox. It will keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling fuller, longer. Not sure where to start? Stock up on our list of The 43 Best Foods for Fiber.
According to a study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, people who dine out eat 200 more calories on average than people who cook at home, regardless of what kind of restaurant they visited. And it’s no surprise—restaurants tend to inject their food with sugar, inflammatory vegetable oils, and other sketchy ingredients. To make sure you’re cutting out unwanted added sugar and sticking to healthy, wholesome ingredients, cook more at home. The easiest way to stay on track is with meal prepping. If you take the time on Sunday to prep your meals for the week, you’re less likely to order a pizza or greasy Chinese on busy nights. That way, you have complete control over what’s going in your food.
You already know water is good for you: it keeps you hydrated, helps your organs work properly, gives you energy, and can even improve your complexion. But drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also keep you feeling full and quash those pesky sugar cravings. If you’re sick of plain ol’ H2O, try one of our detox water recipes infused with flavorful fruit and healthy antioxidants.