Limiting processed sugar in your diet is about more than just avoiding the empty calories. Here’s how you can cut down on the added sugars for a more heart-healthy lifestyle
Dieticians often advise keeping away from added sugars as much as possible, but when processed food with high sugar content is seemingly everywhere, how can you do it? To be clear—you don’t necessarily need to get rid of sugar completely. If you’re already relatively healthy, you just need to be mindful enough to use them in moderation. Specifically, keep watch for processed sugars, like white sugar, brown sugar, and other types of sugar and molasses taken from cane or beet. That’s because you can get a sugar crash and feel hunger pangs after a sugary intake.
Wean off the sugary drinks
Soda contains way more sugar than you might think. Besides soft drinks, limit your intake of fruit-flavored drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sweetened beverages. On top of water, drink healthier low-sugar options like black tea and coffee.
Check the label
Reading the labels on products is another helpful step in lowering your added sugar intake. Differentiate between the natural sugars and added sugars when you compare food labels, then choose the products with the lowest amounts of added sugars.
Cut it in half
Another helpful tip is to reduce the amount of sugar you normally use for home-cooked meals. If the recipe calls for a certain amount of sugar, gradually reduce the amount instead. You will barely notice the difference, especially if you substitute the sugar for something healthier.
Substitute the sweetness
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As mentioned before, it would help to substitute the source of sweetness with something else when you’re cooking or baking at home. Instead, use ingredients like vanilla extracts in your dessert or even unsweetened applesauce. Likewise, you can experiment with spices like cinnamon to enhance the flavor of your dish.
Oftentimes, the reason we crave for sugar is because our bodies are low on needed nutrients, so it’s best to eat regular, balanced meals. One significant step to limiting your added sugar intake is by eating more whole foods over ultra-processed food. For example, eat more fruits, whether fresh or dried.