High sugar consumption is an alarming concern worldwide considering the rising obesity rates. Liver work overload leading to metabolic syndrome to fatty liver disorder could be caused by intake of high fructose, as suggested by research. Conscious consumption of sugar intake is essential though it can be confusing at times. WHO now recommends only 5% of total calories coming from ‘free sugars’ instead of previous recommendation of 10%.
All monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by manufacturer plus the naturally present sugar in honey, syrup and fruit juices are considered as ‘free sugars’. Ideally, majority of one’s sugar intake has to be from natural sources; the amount of intake could vary according to the individual’s requirement. Also, there is no upper cap for intake of natural sugars.
To start with, one could minimize the sugar intake to as low as 15% of total calories. A 5-10% sugar intake, as per WHO recommendation, implies 25-50 grams of sugar respectively in a diet of 2000 calories. Calculate the daily ‘added’ sugar by multiplying total calories by 5 or 10% and then dividing by 4. Naturally occurring sugars like fructose from fruits and lactose from milk can be overlooked owing to the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber existing in them which makes them highly important in the diet.
Below are 15 simple ways to help you cut down your sugar consumption:
1. Choose natural
Choose your sugar wisely. Opt for natural sugars over added sugars like honey and corn syrup that have no nutritional value. High fiber content in fresh fruits and vegetables slows down the rate of carbs absorption thereby improving digestion and satiety to help weight loss.
2. Pick low sugars
Lemons, limes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, mushrooms, green beans, and zucchini contain low sugars. Vegetables are generally low in sugar. Also, remember low sugar doesn’t mean low carbohydrates.
Fruits (1 cup) Gms
Black beans <01
Medium red potato <03
3. Watch your portions of food intake
Generally recommendation of fruits and vegetables is 2 cups and 3 cups respectively per day.[Or 2 fruits]. One fruit serving is likely to be 15 grams of sugar. So, try not to have two servings together in order to avoid sugar rush.
4. Consume fresh and whole fruit
To avoid excess intake of sugar, consume fruits fresh and whole instead of having in the form of fruit juice or dried fruit. 4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup or 120 mL) of 100% fruit juice and ¼ cup unsweetened dried fruit is equivalent to 1 piece or 1 cup of fresh, whole fruit.
5. Know the labels
Read the food labels thoroughly from the ingredient list from your grocery shopping to know if there are any added sugars in the products you buy. Molasses, organic cane sugar, fruit juice concentrate, malt sugar, corn syrup, honey, syrup, and words ending in “ose” dextrose, lactose, maltose, fructose, glucose, sucrose all mean they have added sugars.
6. Compare products
Do not buy the products blindly. Read the nutrition label of different products and compare them and buy only the products that have low sugar. Do not be fooled by the ads on the packs.
7. Keep a track
Set up an account and enter your food details in MyFitnessPal to keep a track of your sugar intake.
8. Eat healthy fats
Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and salmon contain healthy fats that keep the heart healthy and control the blood sugar. Also, the healthy fats displace the excess sugar from diet as they keep your body satisfied longer, thus, making you less likely to munch in between meals.
9. Set limit for your sweet tooth
If you have a sweet tooth, set limits! Control your temptations and strictly limit yourself indulging into the sweet treats.
10. Avoid packaged food
75% of packed foods in The U.S. contain added sugars. Hence, avoid them as much as you can.
11. Opt for unsweetened dairy
Always opt plain milk and yogurt instead of flavored ones as they contain added sugars. Again, read the labels carefully. Fat-free milk naturally contains more sugar than the reduced-fat ones. One tip for your taste buds is that you can add your own flavored toppings of chia seeds, blueberries and cinnamon on yogurt.
12. Intake more proteins
Proteins keep you super full as they take longer time to digest. Make sure to eat good quality proteins every 3-4 hours.
13. Be cautious of the sugar bombs
Energy bars, lattes, smoothies, juices, enhanced waters, salad dressing, cereals, tomato sauce, and medications commonly have loads of high sugars. Be cautious with these foods.
14. Cut down the sugars gradually
Remember to slowly cut down on sugars instead of cutting it off at once. Start minimizing your sugar intake day by day.
15. Declutter your pantry
Yes! Declutter your pantry and take out all the tempting sugary stuffs and keep only healthy food.