Lower Sugar Lifestyle

low sugarSugar may be sweet, but, as more and more research shows, it’s not so nice. It quickly turns into fat in our bod­ies, con­tributes to obe­sity, puts us at risk of type 2 dia­betes, and plays a major role in the onset of other con­di­tions rang­ing from insom­nia to heart dis­ease. On top of that, it’s lit­er­ally addic­tive. No sur­prise so many Amer­i­cans are unhealthy, con­sid­er­ing how much sugar most of us eat: about 22 tea­spoons a day.

Some peo­ple, of course, choose to cut out sugar entirely. If you don’t want to go that far — and who doesn’t love a slice of cake once in a while at a party, or ice cream with the kids on a hot sum­mer day? — a low-​sugar lifestyle may be a more man­age­able option that still improves your health. mind­body­green teamed up with siggi’s dairy— whose yogurt con­tains a shock­ingly low 9 to 11 grams of sugar per 5.3 ounce serv­ing (34 of which nat­u­rally occur in the milk) — to put together these 25 tips that will keep you on the path to a low-​sugar lifestyle.

1. Reduce your sugar intake slowly.

Some experts rec­om­mend going cold turkey, but be aware that because sugar is addic­tive, elim­i­nat­ing it all in one fell swoop is likely to wreak havoc on your emo­tions — which, in turn, can stress you out and drive you back into its sweet, com­fort­ing arms. If you’re going for low-​sugar rather than no sugar, a grad­ual reduc­tion may be easier.

2. Eat whole foods.

When­ever pos­si­ble, stick to meats, fruits and veg­eta­bles in their orig­i­nal forms, which do not con­tain any added sugar.

3. Get your cook­book out.

You’ll be far less likely to con­sume sug­ary foods — either acci­den­tally or in a moment of weak­ness — if you pre­pare the bulk of your meals.

4. Take “sugar-​free” with a grain of salt.

Arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers trick your body into think­ing it’s get­ting glu­cose and then don’t deliver — which just makes you hun­grier. Watch out for “no sugar added,” too: a lot of foods labeled that way­in­clude arti­fi­cial sweeteners.

5. Watch out for fat-​free foods.

Fat-​free” and “lite” options often con­tain extra sugar or sweet­en­er­sto com­pen­sate for the miss­ing fla­vor and rich­ness of fat.

6. Read and com­pare labels.

Some foods — like yogurt or cereal — come in a vast array of brands and options. If you’re going to eat foods that con­tain sugar, pick those with the low­est amounts and that use nutri­tious ingre­di­ents and prepa­ra­tion techniques.

7. 86 the soda and juice.

The vast major­ity of these bev­er­ages are lit­tle more than sugar water.

8. Avoid diet soda, too.

Again, the arti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers in diet soda will just exac­er­bate your body’s sugar crav­ings, with­out ever sat­is­fy­ing them. Let it go.

9. Start the day with protein.

A high-​protein break­fast — eggs, a pro­tein shake or yogurt — will not only keep your blood sugar in check and reduce crav­ings, but will also improve your metab­o­lism for the rest of the day.

10. Don’t skip meals.

Eat reg­u­larly through­out the day. Skip­ping lunch to fin­ish a pro­ject­makes you more likely to turn to sugar for a quick fix later on.

11. Have emer­gency snacks handy.

Keep an “Emer­gency Life Pak” on you at all times, con­tain­ing healthy and fill­ing options like nuts, jerky, and fresh fruit, so you’re not tempted to hit up the vend­ing machine for a candy bar if you have to miss a meal.

12. Stay hydrated.

Thirst fre­quently man­i­fests as a crav­ing for sugar or other food. Drink plenty of water.

13. Choose fruit.

Fresh fruit — which deliv­ers fiber and water, which help your body metab­o­lize fruc­tose more health­fully — is a bet­ter way to sat­isfy your sug­ary urges than almost any processed alternative.

14. But choose veg­gies and nuts more often.

The sweet­ness in fruit will keep a sugar addic­tion alive. Try lim­it­ing your­self to one serv­ing of fruit per day, and opt for raw veg­eta­bles, nuts and seeds as snacks.

15. Keep healthy fats around.

Healthy fats — like those found in nuts and seeds, extra vir­gin olive oil and avo­cado — will make you feel full, pro­vide energy, and bal­ance your blood sugar.

16. Find nat­ural substitutes.

If you need to use a sweet­ener in a recipe, replace white sugar with options like honey or molasses (in small doses) when­ever pos­si­ble, as they pro­vide more nutri­ents and bet­ter flavor.

17. Spice it up.

Cin­na­mon, nut­meg, car­damom and other spices are a great way to sat­isfy your sweet tooth with­out adding sugar.

18. Give black cof­fee a trial run. (if you are a cof­fee drinker)

If you’ve grown accus­tomed to sweet­en­ing your morn­ing joe, give your­self a 7-​day trial of drink­ing it black. Cof­fee is shown to reduce risk of dia­betes and some types of can­cer, and it’s a proven­me­tab­o­lism booster. Take the time to savor the taste, smell, and warmth of your cof­fee — the expe­ri­ence itself is sweet enough, no sugar necessary!

19. Select dark chocolate.

When you need to feed a choco­late crav­ing, the darker stuff — like, 85 to 90 per­cent cocoa — con­tains much less sugar.

20. Buddy up.

You’re fac­ing a world where sugar is thrust into your face at every turn, but you don’t have to face it alone. Do you have a friend or sig­nif­i­cant other who might be inter­ested in cut­ting back on sugar, too? Pair up to offer each other sup­port and a sound­ing board when those crav­ings are out of con­trol and you’re wor­ried you’ll cave.

21. Learn its other names.

You’re on the look­out for “sugar” in the ingre­di­ents list, but what about “agave nec­tar,” “black strap molasses,” “dried oat syrup,” “high fruc­tose corn syrup” or “evap­o­rated cane juice”? Some of these alter­na­tive sweet­en­ers have other health ben­e­fits, but your body still treats them basi­cally like sugar.

22. Never assume.

Sugar slips into some­times sur­pris­ing foods, like salad dress­ing, sauces, and meat glazes. Besides read­ing ingre­di­ents lists closely, have your server check when you’re eat­ing out, if you think a dish might have added sugar.

23. Don’t take the glycemic index as gospel.

The GI scale mea­sures only glu­cose, so it doesn’t tell you any­thing about the fruc­tose in a food. Sug­ars are all metab­o­lized dif­fer­ently and have dif­fer­ent impacts on the body.

24. Get a good night’s rest.

When you don’t get enough sleep — most human beings need 7.5 to 8 hours a night — your body lacks energy, and looks else­where for it,setting off crav­ings for sugar, which offers a quick hit.

25. Mind your emotions.

Before you reach for a sug­ary snack, ask your­self if you are truly hun­gry or just try­ing to fill an emo­tional need. If your answer is the lat­ter, seek friends, fam­ily or a hobby for a more sus­tain­able (and health­ier) emo­tional fix.

From mind​body​green​.com

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