19 tips to ditch the sugar in your diet

ditch the sugar

Sugar is the evil ingredient that not only extends our waistline but also has a dramatic impact on our health.  Simply put, sugar turns quickly into fat which contributes to obesity.  This has a knock on effect of increasing our risk of type 2 diabetes and other major health conditions such as heart disease.

On average, American’s consume about 22 of sugar teaspoons a day! Why? Because it is found in almost all packaged foods and is seriously addictive.  It is no wonder our health is on the decline, particularly in Western nations.

So we’ve put together 19 tips to ditch the sugar in your diet and keep you on track to living a low-sugar lifestyle.

#1 Reduce your intake of sugar slowly

If you are consuming a lot of sugar in your diet, the chances are you are addicted.  Going cold turkey can wreak havoc with your emotions as well as shock your body.  Headaches, sweating, fatigue, nausea are all signs the addiction has taken over.  A gradual reduction might not only be easier in the long run, but also may help you maintain it.

#2 Spend more time cooking

If you make time to get in the kitchen, prepare delicious foods and make plenty of leftovers you are less likely to grab a quick, sugary snack or a unhealthy take-away meal.

#3 Consume whole foods

Eating plenty of whole foods will ensure no added sugar is sneakily put into the food.  It will also make your diet healthier in every other way and you will feel way better for it!

#4 Read your food labels

Stop listening to the marketing on the front of the food product and start reading the labels.  Compare products and brands to see what ingredients are in the product, in particular the type and amount of sugar.

#5 Ditch the soda and juice

Most of the soda and juice on the markets are pretty much sugar water and have very little nutritious benefit, if any at all.

#6 Avoid diet soda

If you are trying to kick your sugar habit, diet sodas are not going to be doing you any favours.  The artificial sweeteners in the soda actually make your body think it is getting glucose.  When it doesn’t, your body gets hungrier and your sugar cravings heighten.

#7 Up your protein intake

Protein keeps your blood sugar under control and helps reduce the sugar cravings as well as keeps you feeling full for longer.

#8 Eat regularly

When you skip meals or deprive your body of food, your energy tips and you are more likely to turn to sugar for a quick pick-me-up.

#9 Prepare snacks for on-the-go

Before you walk out the door each day, make sure your handbag has a couple of emergency snacks like nuts, veggie sticks or hummus to keep on hand for when you have missed a meal or have a sugar craving.

#10 Drink water

When dehydrated, we often recognise thirst as a craving for sugar.  Drinking plenty of water will help your body’s system functions correctly and you won’t be as likely to eat calories instead.

#11 Consume healthy fats

Healthy fats such as nuts, olive oil and avocado help you fulfil your hunger pains, provide you energy and balances out your blood sugar levels.

#12 Try out some spices

There are plenty of spices that satisfy your sugar craving without adding any refined sugar to the mix.  Think cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom!

#13 Educate yourself

Sugar isn’t listed on food labels as ‘sugar’.  Food manufactures are much smarter than that! There are over 40 types of sugars used in processed foods.

#14 Hit the sack

Getting a good night sleep can ensure your body has rested and is full of energy ready to start the day.  If you are not getting around 7.5 – 8 hours a night, your body will look for energy full somewhere else, like sugar!

#15 Don’t be fooled by advertising

“Fat-Free” often means less fat, more sugar.  “Sugar-free” means the product is free of sucrose or table sugar, but not all types of sugars.  “Lite” only refers to light in colour, flavour or texture, not a healthier product.  As you can see the advertiser’s creative wording and claims may look great, but often they are no better for you.

#16 Enlist a friend

Get a friend to reduce their sugar intake at the same time means you have a little support from someone who is experiencing the same things.  You can also motivate each other as well as swap tips, recipes and be a sounding board for when things are getting tough.

#17 Reach for the dark chocolate

When you just need to satisfy your chocolate craving, dark chocolate with 75 and over percent of cocoa is what you should reach for.

#18 Switch fruit with veggies

While fruit delivers fibre and water, it still is a form of sugar.  Rather than spend the day munching on fruit, switch a piece or two with veggies.

#19 Watch what’s in your blender

The juice and smoothie craze has got people hooked and while you think you might be healthy by blending up a tasty smoothie filled with ‘superfoods’ you may be just serving up a glass of calories.  Watch the amount of fruit you throw into each smoothie!

Kicking your sugar habit is no easy feat, but it is worthwhile when you do!