Do you know how much sugar you are consuming each day?
When I first started paying attention and reading labels, I was shocked to learn just how much sugar there was in many of my favorite foods and drinks.
The good news is that a little information can help you make better choices that can help you lose weight and get healthier in a way that feels easy and effortless.
Sugar is something we all love. But the sad truth is that it has no redeeming nutritional value – no vitamins, no minerals no fiber – just empty calories.
For me to live the happy, healthy slim life I desire, I have to pay attention to what I eat.
And while I don’t count calories or grams of sugar, I have a pretty good idea what the approximate values are for many of the foods I eat and drink regularly, as well as how much sugar I can tolerate a day.
Did you know that the USDA suggests that the amount of added sugar in a typical 2,000 calorie diet should be no more than 10 teaspoons and the American Heart Association suggests that a women eat fewer than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day?
When you compare these numbers with the amounts of sugar in some of the foods you are eating and drinking, you will probably be shocked too!
Each teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
If think that if we were living by these sugar recommendations, most of the country’s obesity related issues would disappear along with tons of dropped pounds!
Steering clear of of added sugar is a simple way to clean up your diet.
I know it’s not nearly as dramatic, but it’s realistic.
Big changes are hard to make and/or stick with, which is one of the reasons most diets fail.
Little changes slow and steady over time can provide impressive weight loss results and health benefits.
For example, in the past few months, I’ve been working to cut back on added sugar and make sure to eat more fruits and vegetables and get my 8 glasses of water.
Nothing earth shattering here.
But, guess what?
My clothes are suddenly really loose, so I hopped on the scale the other day (not something I do very often) for a reality check.
I’m down about 8 pounds since I last checked in. Without any pain or suffering or feelings of deprivation!
How cool is that?
Are you ready to lose some weight and feel better without extreme measures?
Here are some practical easy steps you can take to cut down the sugar in your diet.
If you turn a few of these changes into a new healthy habit, there’s a good chance that in a few weeks you’ll be swimming in your skirts and slacks too!
10 Easy Ways to Cut Back on Your Sugar Intake
1. Limit yourself to 1 sweet treat of <200 calories each day.
Dessert and sweet treats should be a small percentage (10%) or less of your daily calorie intake. If you are in the habit of eating dessert several times a day, this one change will make a big difference.
I first thought about it when I was having a conversation with my husband, who was reflecting back on his years at summer camp.
Back then he was allotted 1 treat each day and spent most of the day trying to figure out what to select!
I immediately thought, oh my gosh, what a difference from what I witness these days – kids reaching into the fridge for a soda or juice box to wash down their cookies and gummy bears!
You don’t have to deprive yourself of all added sugar, but you do have to get real if you want to be healthy, happy and slim.
2. Decrease the amount of sugar you use in baking.
You can usually cut the amount of sugar by at least 25% in most recipes without noticing much of a difference. On a sugar website I found the following suggestions:
- For cookies and cakes: Use 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of flour in the recipe.
- For muffins and quick breads: Use 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup sugar for each cup of flour in the recipe.
- For yeast breads: Use 1 teaspoon of sugar for each cup of flour in the recipe.
It might take a little while for your taste buds to adjust to these lower levels of sugar, but it time your old sweets will end up tasting too sweet!
3. Switch ketchup for salsa wherever you can.
Ketchup has about 4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon where salsa usually has none.
4. Switch to plain yogurt instead of the fruit flavored kind.
I know plain yogurt can taste sour until you adjust to it. And plain yogurt all on it’s own has a fair amount of sugar (about 7 – 12 grams), which comes from lactose in the milk.
But most fruit flavored yogurts are sugar bombs with 12 – 25 added grams of sugar (3 – 6 teaspoons).
So switch to plain yogurt and drizzle it with just a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup for a big reduction in your daily sugar intake.
5. Substitue sparking water with a squeeze of lemon for just one or your daily sodas.
Okay, if you are dependent on soda, I’m not suggesting you give it up cold turkey. That would be cruel. But I am suggesting you work to slowly wean yourself of it (and I’m not suggesting switching to the diet stuff, either.)
Just replacing one 12 ounce soda per day with sparkling water or club soda will save you 10 teaspoons of sugar!
6. Trade peanut butter for your jam.
Having 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on your toast in place of the same amount of jam will reduce your sugar by about 7 grams.
The Skinny on Weight Loss: A Day of Food
7. Skip the commercial granola bar.
Have a few triscuits with hummus, or make your own granola bars instead. Most commercial granola bars have 11 – 16 grams of sugar (3 to 4 teaspoons).
8. Don’t add sugar to your food and beverages.
Okay, this may go without saying, but, I’ll say it anyway, to cut down on added sugar, put away the sugar bowl.
Learn to drink your coffee without sugar and stop sprinkling the stuff on your cereal.
Have sliced bananas or berries on your cereal and try a natural sweetener like, stevia, in your coffee.
9. Switch to a low sugar cereal if you eat it for breakfast.
Many cereals contain 8 – 15 grams of added sugar. (That’s equal to 2 -4 teaspoons per serving.)
Switch to one that has 3 grams or less. Fiber One, Shredded Wheat, Oatmeal, Kashi go Lean and Cheerios all would qualify.
10. Swap a fancy coffee beverage for something a little more restrained.
Did you know that a 16 ounce Vanilla Frappuccino has 64 grams of added sugar (16 teaspoons) and a 16 ounce flavored latte, 34 grams?
Go for the plain iced latte and save 30 – 50 extra grams of sugar!
Learn to enjoy the bitterness (it is one of our 5 tastes, after all), add a little stevia or sweeten it yourself with just 1 – 2 teaspoons of sugar.
See, I told you it was easy to cut back on your sugar intake!
Just by avoiding the added sugar that comes from soda, baked goods, sweetened breakfast cereals and fruit drinks you can reduce more than 80% of the added sugar from the average person’s diet.
And if you think of this as a game, working to figure out where to reduce and/or eliminate the added sugar from your diet, it can be a healthy form of fun!
You might also like…
- Manage Your Cravings with Slim & Sassy Gum
- 10 Common Causes of Cravings
- The Secret to Ending Emotional Eating
- 11 Simple Ways to Deal with Sugar Cravings
PS... Need a little extra help managing your cravings?
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