As a Registered Dietitian, I get asked for diet and nutrition advice quite frequently. When people ask me how to improve their diet, reducing their sugar intake is almost always at the top of my list.
I think that slowly but surely, people are starting to realize that sugar, especially added sugar, can be linked to a lot of the healthy problems people are struggling with today. More and more frequently I’m hearing about about people making an effort to reduce their sugar intake by quitting cold turkey. They’re doing Whole 30, juice cleanses and other sugar-free challenges.
While that approach may work for some people (more power to you!), I know there are lots of people out there who would struggle with a challenge like that – myself included!
Recently, my friend Amanda over at Run to the Finish, reached out to ask my thoughts about ways to reduce your sugar intake without using a sugar-free challenge.
Here’s what I told her:
7 Tips to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
1) Start by cutting back.
In my experience, for many people, completely eliminating something only serves to make you want it more. When I started really watching my sugar intake after I graduated from college, I did it in small steps. So what does that mean? If you’re eating two sugary snacks a day, cut back to one. If you put three packets of sugar in your coffee each morning, cut back to two, then one. If you like juice, start mixing in sparkling water and reducing the amount of juice. As your tastebuds adjust to lower amounts of sugar, you’ll probably find that if you return to your original eating habits, things will taste overly sweet!
2) Find the hidden culprits.
Sugar is hidden in so many foods. It often replaces fat in low-fat/fat-free foods and you’ll find it in things that can really be made from just a few ingredients like nut butters, breads and salad dressings. For example, there are many brands of peanut butter that are made with added sugar, when in reality all you really need to make peanut butter is one ingredient- peanuts.
3) Eat real, whole foods.
If you have a sweet tooth, try satisfying your cravings with sweet foods like fruit. When you do eat packaged foods, check the ingredient list and know the various names for sugar so you can spot it in the foods you’re eating. Remember that low fat/fat-free often means high sugar.
…To read the rest of my tips, check out my guest post over at Run to the Finish!
Have you tried to reduce your sugar intake? What worked for you?