Contrary to what many believe, it’s actually sugar (not fat) that has led to America’s obesity epidemic. In the last decade, cases of type two diabetes has exploded, due mostly to excess sugar in our diets. Sugar is also a factor in a myriad of other serious illnesses including heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, and fertility. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, which adds up to a whopping 152 pounds a year. That’s three times more than what is recommended by the American Heart Association! It is imperative that we begin cutting refined (or processed) sugar from our diets in order to stay healthy and fit.
Tips for cutting refined sugar from your diet:
- Stop buying processed foods. Nearly everything that comes in a box, bag, or can has added sugars. Sometimes one food item has four or five different types of sugar added.
- Stop drinking calories. Beverages are the single biggest source of sugar calories in our diet – that includes sodas, juices, sports drinks, and sweetened tea/coffee. What’s worse? They’re completely empty calories.
- Spice things up. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric can give food a new and different flavor that can replace the sweetness of sugar.
- Avoid low- and nonfat foods. When removing fat, many food manufacturers add sugar to keep the product flavorful. Don’t be fooled!
- Eat more often. Letting yourself get too hungry often causes you to reach for high sugar, low quality snacks to curb cravings.
- Educate yourself on the aliases. There are over 56 different names for added sugar including high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, molasses, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and sucrose.
- Stock up on the natural stuff. Eating whole fruit is one of the healthiest ways to satisfy a sweet craving.
- Check your cereals. Even healthy-sounding cereals are packed with sugar. Look for a box with less than 6 grams of sugar per serving that provides a good dose of fiber.