Last updated on February 9th, 2019
5 Tips To Reduce Sugar Intake
I’m sure you’ve heard of it, the cause of all evil, the devil reincarnated… sugar! Haha okay a bit extreme 😛 But sugar has a ton of horrific side effects and is definitely not beneficial to our overall health. And when it comes to kids… well let’s just save that rant for later ? Like juice boxes, I am a firm believer that kids don’t need sugar and neither do we mamas!
Let me be honest in saying: sugar is in everything. Literally everything.
It makes everything taste delicious and we become rather addicted to it. And unfortunately, it has some horrific impacts on our health.
I’m going to save you the lecture on why sugar is bad for us. Truthfully if you don’t know that you shouldn’t be consuming sugar you probably don’t want tips on how to reduce sugar intake 😛
But know this:
Yes, sugar is bad for our waistlines and overall our body composition. But it is so much more than that.
Sugar is horrible for your overall health. It promotes heart disease, cancer cell growth, hormone alterations, diabetes, tooth decay…
Everything. Sugar affects every single system in our bodies.
When it comes to children, sugar has been linked to behaviour disorders. It also alters kids taste buds and thus how they eat. Once kids become accustomed to sweeter food, they transition from eating real food (like vegetables and whole grains) without sugar or sweetener being added.
Sugar is a super big rant for me. I can be negotiated with on a lot of things… but sugar isn’t one of them when it comes to my girls.
So how in the hell do we get around it?
The same way you achieve any other goal: dedication and consistency.
The reason so many people struggle to reduce sugar intake is because they don’t want to! Blunt yes, but it’s true ( #sorrynotsorry ).
Sugar makes things taste good. And while we know we should consume less it’s hard. It’s altered our taste buds and what we think is normal. It has altered the way our body functions.
Have you ever gone cold turkey from sugar? It’s hard as hell! You get mood swings, headaches, you’re frustrated. It’s serious business.
So, the best thing you can do to reduce sugar intake is take it one day at a time and one healthy swap at a time. Work slowly to change your habits and you’ll notice small difference.
Your skin, hair and energy will thank you. You’ll start to enjoy real food again. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.
But again, it’s overwhelming. So below are five simple tips I give to new clients when they’re learning to reduce sugar intake.
Reduce Sugar Intake In Liquid Form
This one is a super challenging one for most people as they have no idea what to reach for! This means no pop, no juice (no, not even ocean spray cranberry :P), no crazy Starbucks concoction, no orange juice, no low calorie packaged thing at the grocery store, no store-bought smoothies made with “fruit puree”. Just no.
This is where most of my clients freak out and wonder what the hell to drink.
The obvious answer is water (read tips on boosting water intake here) given most people fail miserably to get in enough water each day. But healthy mocktails, tea (iced or chilled), infused water and coconut water are all great options.
Remove sugar in your drinks is hard and will have you confused to what to reach for a while. But it makes a huge freaking impact.
Dressings & Sauces
This is another hard one for some! But the truth is, we drown a lot of our food in sauce: ketchup, sweet and sour, salad dressings. All of these sauces add up when really, it’s a pretty simple place to reduce sugar intake from.
Make your own sauce. I promise, it’s really not hard. Most stir fry sauces and salad dressings require under five ingredients or less!
This isn’t to say you can never have ketchup again. Far from it. But swapping the majority for homemade will have a big impact on your health. Use packaged sauces (especially salad dressings and VH sauces!) sparingly.
I am a firm believer in making your own snacks whenever you can (like deliciously tasty energy balls!). not only does this save you money but it saves your health too.
Does it take time? Uh yea, it does. But it’s worth it.
Make a bunch of bars, muffins and balls at once and freeze them. You can make enough for the month in about 90 minutes.
Store bought bars (most of them, some store bought snacks like these ones area better choice
) are nothing more than candy bars. Muffins are even worse, they truthfully make me cringe with the amount of sugar and fat in them (and no, it’s not good fats).
Granola is another one: make your own or find a reputable brand. If you look at the back of a granola package, fat too often the first ingredient is sugar (sugar, cane sugar, agave, coconut palm etc). Packages granola is almost all freaking sugar.
So, give your wallet and your body some love by making your own snacks. Plan it, execute it and keep it simple.
Half of my snacks are no bake options because I’m too lazy to cook! It’s easy and so very much worth it.
Buy Unsweetened Options
This is especially true for items like almond milk and yogurt! There is no need (none!) to add sugar into milk. Seriously, it drives me bananas.
If you find you’re in desperate need of it, add in some cinnamon, vanilla or at the very last resort pure maple syrup (like a tablespoon!) in to change the flavor.
As for yogurt, sweeten it yourself!
Berries, honey, coconut, bananas… all great and very sweet options to put into yogurt that contain far less processed sugar that pre-mixed fruit yogurt.
Start buying the unsweetened versions of item (applesauce, milk, yogurt etc). It’s a super simple swap that can make a significant difference.
Healthy Dessert Swaps
Yes, this one sucks. This is why I left it until last 😛
And before you cringe and curse me, no, this does not mean you can never have regular treats again. Seriously, eat them.
But if you’re eating chocolate bars, cupcakes and cookies weekly, you may want to think about making some swaps.
Healthy desserts can be simple to make and again, much healthier. Using real food instead of processed crap naturally cuts out a lot of sugar.
Again, yes it sucks. It will taste different at first but can be done and you don’t have to omit your favorites all the time.
A few of my favorites are:
Truly, reducing sugar intake from your diet doesn’t have to be horrendous. It doesn’t mean you need to eat only chicken and broccoli. It does mean that you need to be more aware of the food you’re buying and switch up a few habits.