If you consume too much sugar, you may be damaging your health
Your weight loss journey is about changing habits and finding things that you enjoy. You may enjoy sugary snacks, but if you want to lose weight you will have to reduce your sugar intake.
Although, if you decide to remove sugar entirely, you may experience some short term side effects, namely headaches and moodswings. You can consider reducing your sugar intake gradually, as removing something straight away can cause a relapse, and you won’t last as long without sneaking a sugary snack. You get to decide what works best for you.
Sugar Health Risks
- Causes weight gain.
- Increases the risk of heart disease.
- Higher risk of developing acne.
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Higher risk of depression.
- Increases the rate of skin aging.
- Increases cellular aging.
- Drains your energy after a boost.
- Leads to a fatty liver.
- Negative impact on dental health.
- Increased issues with your gut health and reduces good gut bacteria.
Even though these can be seen as minor health risks, they can increase dramatically and lead to even higher risks if nothing is done about them.
There are “free sugars” consumed too much by most adults and children in the UK. These are sugars added to foods and drinks, such as biscuits, fizzy drinks, chocolate, breakfast cereals, and flavored yogurts. Sugars in unsweetened fruit juices, honey, vegetable juices, syrups, smoothies, and nectars are still sugar. Even though these sugars occur naturally, they are also known and counted as free sugars. Any sugar found in fruit, vegetables, and milk doesn’t count as free sugars.
How to Reduce Sugar Intake Gradually
Get Plenty Of sleep
Having a good night’s sleep is vital to your health. If you’re not getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, this can lead to a lack of motivation, depression, reduced immune function, and low concentration.
As you might already know, there is a close link between a lack of sleep and obesity. If you’re not sleeping well, you’re more than likely to snack on all the wrong foods throughout the day which will not help you reduce your sugar intake.
Swap Fizzy Drinks For Water Or Tea
Sugary and fizzy drinks have more sugar than we realize, and even smoothies and fruit juices considered to be “healthy” have large amounts of sugar. Drinks don’t make you feel as full because your body doesn’t recognize the calories from drinks in the same way as it does food. You can try alternatives to these unhealthy drinks, such as tea and coffee, water, herbal or fruit teas, sparkling water, or water with mint and cucumber.
Never Shop When You’re Hungry
This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and I’ve made it many times. If you’ve done it before, you know how lethal it can be. Your eyes become bigger, and everything looks so much more appetizing. You’ll also definitely choose less healthy options, and you’ll spend more money. On the other hand, if you shop after you’ve eaten, you’ll become more reasonable and choose healthier options, while the less healthy options don’t seem appetizing.
Avoid Sugary Desserts
Even though you might be looking forward to the dessert you chose after your dinner, they should be avoided as much as possible. Many desserts don’t provide much nutritional value. They are loaded with sugar, and this can cause sugar spikes which will ultimately leave you feeling hungry, tired, and craving even more sugar – which then becomes a vicious circle. If you want something sweet, you can try fresh fruit, a handful of dates, Greek yogurt with fruit or cinnamon, dark chocolate, or baked fruit with cream. If you swap those heavy desserts with something fresh or baked, it will also increase your vitamin, mineral, fiber, and antioxidants in your diet.
Don’t Keep As Much Sugar In Your House
If you have tempting food in your house, you’re more than likely going to eat it. So, the way to cure this is by removing them from your house or purchasing as much. It takes so much willpower to tell yourself not to eat something nice when you want it. And if you have a fruit bowl in the kitchen, I guarantee you’re more than likely going to grab a sweet snack instead of the juicy orange. Sweet cravings are usually worse in the evening, and our metabolism starts to slow down in the evening, making it longer for your body to digest. This will also impact how you feel in the morning as the snack will sit on your stomach.
Sauces can be a nice addition to a meal, but ketchup, sweet chili sauce, and barbecue sauce have shocking sugar contents. Some varieties have no added sugar but remember to read the label to make sure you choose the lowest option.
If you want some more flavor in your food, you can choose:
– Sugar-free Mayonnaise
– Fresh or dried herbs and spices
– Fresh chili
– Harissa paste
– Yellow mustard
Eat More Fat And Protein
If you have a diet of low added sugar but more protein and fat, it reduces hunger. If you’re consuming high amounts of fructose, this will increase your appetite due to the signals being sent to the brain that you’re not full enough. Protein is known to reduce food cravings, and fat is very high inconsistent energy. Sugar will give you energy for a short amount of time and will then leave you tired. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, you should eat meat, nuts, fish, avocados, and full-fat dairy products. If you’re eating too much added sugar, it’ll end up having many negative effects on your health. Try one change at a time before throwing yourself at the deep end.
Other Names For Sugar
You might not see sugar on the ingredients list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There are many different names for sugar that can be overlooked when reading the nutrition label. There are, in fact, 56 other names!
Basic Simple Sugars
Granulated Or Solid Sugars
- Yellow Sugar
- Beet Sugar
- Turbinado Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Cane Juice Crystals
- Sugar (Table or Granulated)
- Cane Sugar
- Raw Sugar
- Castor Sugar
- Panela Sugar
- Coconut Sugar
- Muscovado Sugar
- Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
- Corn Syrup Solids
- Icing Sugar
- Crystalline Fructose
- Grape Sugar
- Date Sugar
- Glucose Syrup Solids
- Demerara Sugar
- Golden Sugar
- Florida Crystals
- Diastatic Malt
- Ethyl Maltol
Syrup Or Liquid Sugars
- Agave Nectar/Syrup
- Sorghum Syrup
- Barley Malt
- Refiner’s Syrup
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Rice Syrup
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Buttered Sugar/Buttercream
- Maple Syrup
- Malt Syrup
- Carob Syrup
- Invert Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Fruit Juice
- Golden Syrup
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
No matter what the type of sugar, they all have a different effect on your body. Most of the sugars are hidden in processed foods. So the idea is to reduce processed food to reduce sugar intake. Therefore, we can consume sugars but in moderation. The best type of sugar is naturally occurring, such as those found in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.
If all this talk of reducing sugar intake sounds a little restrictive, choose not to be overwhelmed but see it as an opportunity to try some new food that will feel great in your body. If you need some help with the application of reducing sugar intake in your life then check out my 10 week program HERE.