It’s no secret that too much sugar is not good for your health. We have all been told to consume less, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
It is important to start by breaking down the definitions of refined sugar (added sugar) and natural sugar. Natural sugars are naturally occurring in foods like fruit and dairy and they provide essential nutrients that help keep you healthy. Refined or added sugars are artificial and processed in most packaged food and do not add nutrition, only calories.
Knowing the difference is half the battle, and acting on the information can be very difficult for some to do.
Here are three easy ways to reduce your sugar intake and make a positive impact on your health.
First, let’s talk about alternatives to sugar that can be used. These will help keep your teeth and your body healthy.
The first option is Stevia. This is a natural plant-based sweetener that is made with little to no added chemicals. Stevia is the main ingredient of many popular sweeteners. This can be a great natural sugar substitute for refined sugars.
Second on the list is raw honey. Honey is a great replacement because it contains antibacterial properties on top of being a natural product. Honey is also chemically similar to glucose, making it easy for your body to break down and process.
Next on the list is organic maple syrup. Organic syrup is a great sugar substitute, especially for all of your breakfast needs. If the syrup is organic it goes through very minimal processing and is packed with minerals and antioxidants.
The last item on this list is Xylitol. Xylitol is made from birch and is often used in sugar-free foods like chewing gum, mint, and other candies. This form of sugar replacement is especially useful for those with diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic problems. Consumption of xylitol has also been found to be much healthier for your teeth than some of the other options.
These four sugar substitutes will allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth and help you regulate your overall sugar intake to a much healthier level.
It is important to understand food labels on what you are consuming. Not all sugars are bad sugars, products can include natural sugars and added sugars, and this will all be labeled in the nutrition facts on the packaging. You want to make sure you limit the amount of added sugars in your diet.
Under the sugars on the nutrition facts, it will break down the split of natural and added sugars in the product. You should compare options to see the difference in sugar levels. Don’t let the packaging fool you, the labels can lie these numbers can’t. Understanding the labels on your food will help you make sure you are making the right purchases for your goals.
Soda is one of the largest contributors to calories and sugars in the American Diet. Ditching the soda and sugar-sweetened beverages and switching to unsweetened teas and fruit-flavored water (still or sparkling) will make a massive impact on your overall health. For example, a can of coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of added sugars in just one can. That is 78% of your daily value of sugar in a single 12 fl oz can. Sodas are also packed with sugars and acids that also damage your teeth. Even if the sodas don’t have the sugar they still have the chemicals so the artificial-sweetened versions are still not a great option. Taking soda out of your diet will be a major step forward in lowering your sugar intake and bettering your health.
There are plenty of substitutes and different methods to take sugar out of your diet. The main factor in this situation is you. Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet has many different physical and mental benefits for your health, you just have to decide if you want to take those steps.