Sugar is found in so many foods and drinks, it may seem impossible to cut back on it completely. It's a common ingredient in many processed foods, including some you may have never guessed, like salad dressing, granola bars, and sauces! It's seriously everywhere, and although some sugar is okay from time-to-time, consuming too much of it can lead to a variety of health problems.
It is recommended to not exceed 50 grams of added sugar a day, however, the average American eats between 68-73 grams of added sugar – far exceeding the daily recommended limit. Whether you have fitness goals to achieve or not, we highly recommend reducing sugar intake to live a healthier lifestyle.
That said, in this article, we'll be exploring different strategies to help you cut down on sugar from your diet and overall improve your eating habits.
Read nutrition labels carefully
Sugar has more names than just one! There are many different names for sugar used on nutrition labels, some include maltodextrin, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, etc. So, read nutrition labels very carefully.
Look at the added sugar content and the ingredients list, those two will give you a good idea of how much sugar is in a product. If sugar or any of its nicknames are at the top of the ingredients list then avoid it. The ingredients listed first are always the most heavily used. And be aware that some products that are marketed as "healthy" or "low-fat" may contain high amounts of sugar. This is why it's important to read the food labels carefully.
Eat protein and fiber-rich foods
Eating protein and fiber-rich foods can help you feel fuller longer while also reducing your cravings for sugary snacks. Always prioritize foods like chicken, meat, fish, leafy greens, root vegetables, and whole grains.
You can also use protein powder to help boost your protein intake while fulfilling your sweet tooth. Just make sure to find a good protein powder with at least 20 grams of protein and in a flavor you will love and never get tired of... something like 373 Lab's Cold Brew Latte Protein Isolate!
Avoid condiments and sauces high in sugar
Believe it or not, sauces like ketchup and barbeque contain a high sugar content. Just two tablespoons of ketchup contain up to 7 grams of sugar! Even salad dressings that are considered "healthy" can contain a lot of added sugars.
So, before buying condiments and sauces read the label carefully or look for a "no added sugar" option. You can also spice up your food differently, like making your own salad dressing or using hot sauces, fresh herbs, and spices, pesto, olive oil, etc.
Buy unsweetened foods
Foods like oatmeal, yogurt, dairy-free milk, nut butters, etc., come in unsweetened versions. The flavored versions typically have a lot of added sugars that can be easily avoided. So, look for labels that say "no added sugar" or "unsweetened" and then sweeten them yourself with natural sweeteners, like honey!
Replace sugary drinks with flavored seltzer water
Sugary drinks like fruit juices and soda contain a lot of sugar. One of the easiest ways to reduce sugar intake is by cutting back on soft drinks and fruit juices. This can be difficult for some, but luckily there are plenty of great alternatives!
If you're craving juice, make your own juice at home using fresh fruit. It requires more work, but you can always juice early in the week to have a pitcher in the fridge for whenever you crave a nice, sweet juice. If you're craving something carbonated, opt for a flavored seltzer. There are various seltzer water brands that contain various flavors to help satisfy your bubbly cravings.
Swap your flavored coffee for protein coffee
Black coffee is ideal, but most people prefer having a sweeter coffee from their favorite coffee shop. However, flavored coffee is jam packed with sugar! Another easy way to cut back on sugar is by swapping your usual flavored coffee for either black coffee, or protein coffee!
Protein powder is not only a delicious way to sweeten up your morning cup of joe, but it also increases your protein intake. All you do is mix a scoop of your favorite flavored protein powder in cold brew or hot coffee, and add any creamer or a dash of cinnamon on top.
Reduce portion sizes on high-sugar foods
You don't have to give up your favorite sweets just reduce the portion sizes! If one of your favorite things is having dessert after dinner then instead of cutting it out completely, cut your serving size in half. This will help satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your sugar intake lower.
You can also swap your usual dessert for a low-sugar one which brings us to the next point...
Swap traditional desserts for low-sugar ones
Fresh fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth, but sometimes you may want a decadent dessert. If you're feeling a sugar craving coming, but want to stay on track with your fitness goals, choose a low-sugar dessert!
There are so many "no added sugar" options in the market now. For example, there are various ice cream brands, like So Delicious, Halo Top, and Enlightened, that have no sugar or low sugar options. This will help satisfy your cravings while also helping you cut down on your overall sugar intake. However, don't rely on these too much. Too much of a good thing isn't good either. So, just remember to be mindful of your portions.
Find healthy substitutes for sugar
If you love to bake and cook at home, find a healthier substitute for sugar! A few good options include applesauce, mashed bananas, coconut sugar, or dates. These substitutes can add sweetness to your food without adding refined sugar. You can also use these to sweeten up foods like oatmeal and plain yogurt.
Cut down on sugar without sacrificing your taste buds
Cutting sugar from your diet can be a challenging but rewarding task. By making simple changes to your eating habits, you can reduce your sugar intake and improve your health while still enjoying the sweeter things in life. Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate your successes along the way. With time and practice, you can make sugar-free eating a sustainable lifestyle change!
Who are we?
We're 373 Lab Supplements – nice to meet you! Founded by Iulia Danilova (Fit With Iulia), and with a team filled with fitness enthusiasts, we've worked hard to bring a trustworthy supplement to the market! Supplements that are designed to help you achieve your fitness goals by giving you only the nutrients you need – no unnecessary fillers or additives!
Find what your pantry is missing at 373 Lab Supplements.