One of the most important changes you can make when it comes to how you feel and move – and even how you look – is to cut back one key ingredient from your diet…..especially if you struggle with higher body fat levels than you’d like.
One that has virtually NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE and yet is almost everywhere you look.
You might already have guessed what I’m talking about: Added sugar.
This is ‘extra’ sugar that is added to your foods, like the kind found in syrups, candy, cookies, processed foods, and even in maple syrup and honey.
(Added sugar is NOT the naturally occurring sugar like the kind found in fruits, veggies, dairy, and other foods that contain fiber and loads of micronutrients your body needs!)
Did you know the national recommended MAXIMUM for added sugar is 10% of your total calories?
If you eat 2,000 calories a day, that’s 200 calories – or 50 grams of sugar.
Most of us get much more than that! Just for an example, a small caramel iced coffee from your local café down the street has 25 grams of sugar!
I highly encourage you to wean yourself off that added sugar, which contains zero essential nutrients but DOES have a lot of calories … plus it raises havoc with your blood sugar, increases inflammation and can lead to cravings and weight gain. (There are exceptions: athletes can use sugar strategically in training and metabolically healthy adults are more resilient.)
While maple syrup and honey do contain some micronutrients and health benefits, your body still processes them as sugar, so if you do use them, just watch your portion sizes.
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, I’m not going to candy-coat it: ditching the sugar can be challenging. But with some simple tactics (and some patience) you can go a LONG way toward cutting down on your sugar intake pretty painlessly.
Some things you can do:
- Read food labels or look at nutrition info online for your favorite foods. You’ll likely be amazed at what you see!
- Track your sugar intake over the course of a day so you have a baseline for your intake. Most food journal apps like MyFitnessPal let you track sugar levels. Subtract out the sugar from natural sources like fruit. This likely will be eye-opening!
Next, try these swaps/ideas:
- Reach for fruit instead of cookies, cakes and other sweet treats. To keep it fun, try new-to-you fruits. Example: pomegranate seeds are totally addicting!
- Frozen fruit also works really well instead of ice cream (a personal favorite)
- Infuse your water with berries and/or cucumber or try unsweetened flavored seltzer water.
- Brew up some herbal tea that’s been infused with fruit. Drink it warm OR cold!
- Choose products with Aspartame. That’s right. It’s not as evil as people think.
- Bake healthier versions of muffins and cookies using apple sauce, bananas, or erythritol to sweeten.
One other thing: If you are an endurance athlete, you can actually consume more sugar, and use it strategically for your training without negative consequences. But that’s a whole different article.
Looking for more guidance on habits, mindset, and nutritional information to assist with health and weight maintenance? Download your free guide on 20 Essential Nutrition Habits for Permanent Weight Loss. Click here: https://adelefrizzell.com/