Cutting Down Sugar? 10 Practical Things to Try That's Not Willpower

Excess sugar does more harm than good. Here's why.

reducing and cutting down on sugar

Eating too much sugar is one of the worst things you can do for your body. It can have a lot of negative health effects on you.

Obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and tooth decay can occur due to excessive sugar intake.

Foods such as fruits and vegetables naturally contain sugar. This type has little impact on your blood sugar and is considered very healthy.

Lots of healthy vitamins and minerals are also included in fruits and vegetables. The hazard is caused by added sugar in processed foods.

In this post, we’ll discuss some proven ways for cutting down your sugar intake.

Let’s dive in!

1. Eat more protein and fats

High consumption of sugar is associated with enhanced appetite and weight gain.

Conversely, there is the reverse effect of a diet low in added sugar but high in protein and fat. It lowers appetite and food consumption.

In the diet, added sugar, particularly fructose, increases the appetite.

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The impulses that normally let your brain know you are full do not function properly. This can lead to over-eating and gaining weight.

Fat is very high in energy. It contains 9 calories per gram, compared to protein or carbohydrate calories per gram.

Reduced appetite is often associated with a high intake of fat. Fat receptors in the mouth and gut change the way you digest food, especially the fat content of a food. 

This contributes to a drop in appetite and, consequently, the consumption of calories. And ultimately help with cutting down the sugar you eat.

2. Eat whole foods

There has been no manufacturing or refining of whole foods. Additives and other artificial compounds are present in them.

Others are ultra-processed foods. These are processed foods containing salt, sugar, and fats. But, they often contain substances that are not commonly used in home cooking.

Artificial flavors, colors, emulsifiers, or other additives are added to them.

Soft beverages, desserts, cereals, pizzas, and pies are examples of ultra-processed foods. Avoid these junk foods.

Ultra-processed foods are distinct from normal processed foods that normally have only limited added ingredients, all of which can be found in a standard kitchen.

Alarming levels can also be found in seemingly healthier alternatives such as canned pasta sauce. Nearly 3 teaspoons (11 grams) will contain one serving (128 grams) of sugar.

3. Choose high-fat foods

Low-fat choices of your favorite foods are everywhere such as peanut butter, yogurt, and salad dressing.

If you’ve been told that fat is bad, when you’re trying to lose weight, it may feel easy to reach for these alternatives rather than the full-fat versions.

The disturbing fact, however, is that they commonly contain more sugar and sometimes more calories than their full-fat counterparts.

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It has also been shown that high sugar consumption induces weight gain. It negates the explanation that you may have wanted a low-fat diet in the first place.

It’s always easier to pick the full-fat variety instead of when you’re cutting down sugar intake.

Related: 20 Foods High in Healthy Fat That’s Not Avocado

4. Read nutrition labels

It is not as easy to consume less sugar as to only stop sweet foods. The unlikely foods also have hidden sugar in them.

The examples include some breakfast cereals, granola bars, and dried fruit.

You’ll need to review the ingredients list to see whether a product has sugar added.

The order in which sugar appears on the list is also relevant to remember. The ingredients are first classified in the order of the highest percentage.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated its regulations.

So, businesses have to disclose the amount of added sugar on the nutrition label in grams in their products, along with a percentage of the daily value of their products.

5. Try natural sweeteners

Sugar can be just as addictive for certain individuals as narcotics or alcohol. Studies have shown that it can affect the brain in a manner close to that of other medications.

Sugar addiction induces cravings and a degree of tolerance, meaning that to fulfill such cravings, more and more of it must be eaten.

Studies have shown that, after a high sugar diet was stopped, rats experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Related: How to stop stress eating

6. Skip shopping when hungry

When you’re hungry, if you’ve ever been shopping, you know what can happen.

You not only buy more food, but you also prefer to put your shopping cart with fewer nutritious choices.

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It has been shown that shopping when hungry not only raises the amount of food bought but also influences the type of food you buy.

7. Get enough sleep

A study showed that people who went to bed late and did not get a full night’s sleep consumed more calories, fast food and soda, and fewer fruits and vegetables. 

They were compared to those who went to bed early and got a full night’s sleep.

8. Limit desserts

In terms of nutritional value, most desserts don’t have much nutrition. Yet, limiting them can be the fastest win to cutting down sugar in your meals.

They are filled with sugar. This induces sugar spikes in the blood and can make you exhausted, hungry, and craving for more sugar.

More than 18% of the consumption of added sugar in the American diet accounts for grain and dairy-based sweets, such as cookies, pies, doughnuts, and ice cream.

Exchanging sugar-heavy sweets for fresh or baked fruit can help reduce your consumption of sugar. It also raises your diet’s fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

9. Avoid sugary drinks

A heap of added sugar is present in some common beverages. It can also contain eye-watering quantities of sugar in so-called healthy beverages, such as smoothies and fruit juices.

For example, 15.2 ounces of 100 percent apple juice (450 ml) contains more than 12 teaspoons of sugar (49 grams).

In the same way that it does from food, your body does not recognize calories from drinks. 

You don’t feel as full with drinks. People who consume a lot of calories from drinks should not eat less to make up for it.

Related: 7 Ways Sugar Affects Mental Health, Backed By Science

10. Avoid cookies and candies

Most people know that there is a lot of sugar in candy and cookies, so they may look for healthy alternatives to snacks.

Snacks such as granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit can surprisingly contain as much sugar as their unhealthy competitors, such as chocolate bars.

There can be as many as 8 teaspoons of sugar in some granola bars.

Takeaway

Excess dietary sugar can be particularly dangerous and has been associated with many chronic conditions. They include cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

It is necessary to avoid obvious sources of sugar in your diet, such as desserts and sodas.

Be aware of hidden sugar in some common processed foods as well. They include sauces, low-fat foods, and balanced snacks. Follow these tips we’ve discussed to help with cutting down sugar consumption.

Try eating foods less in sugar to live a healthy and active life.

(Consultant Dietitian/Content Writer)

I am currently working as Consultant Dietitian at Baloch Hospital where I make customized diet plans for clients along with providing counselling. I have also worked at different renowned hospitals for 6 months. I also work as Content writer at OOGLOO-WEB AND BEYOND.