Image by: bykst
By Robert Spencer
According to a Forbes infographic that was published a couple of years ago, Americans were consuming approximately 130 pounds of sugar every year. That was a couple of years ago. The number has risen since then. The average American consumes about 770 grams of sugar every five days. That’s about 3 pounds of sugar each week or about 3600 pounds during an entire lifetime.
Those are dangerous and frightening numbers. Especially when you consider the fact that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. That fact was proven during tests which showed that sugar would illuminate the same parts of the brain as cocaine did.
Refined sugar has been linked to behaviors as mundane as acne and fatigue to serious diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and high blood pressure. There is no nutritional value in refined sugar and yet, we continue to shovel it into our mouths. Well, it’s time that we did something about it.
#1) Make Your Own Stuff
Processed foods normally have a lot of hidden sugars. If you’re trying to cut sugar from your diet all together or if you’re trying to limit your sugar, try to go fresh instead or make your own snacks at home so that you know what’s going in them. Instead of buying applesauce (which is packed with the nasty stuff), make your own at home and package them in single serving containers for your kids’ lunches.
#2) Sweet Vegetables
Beets and sweet potatoes are great when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Fruits are a great alternative as well but they normally have more natural sugars in them than vegetables. Mix it up and you will not only satisfy your sweet tooth but get a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals also.
#3) Get a Sugar Buddy
If you can find a friend who has similar health and fitness goals, you can both keep each other motivated when it comes to cutting out unhealthy sugars. Send each other motivational text messages and check in on each other. If you’re roommates, it works out even better because you can grab groceries together and not have to worry about someone bringing home a box of Oreos.
If you pick your wife for your buddy system, it works even better because you don’t have to worry about touchy subjects or what’s “appropriate”. Also, your wife can do the grocery shopping so you know that the house will be sans-Oreo boxes.
#4) Know How to Read Labels
When you’re reading your food labels make sure that you know what you’re looking for. More often than not, sugar isn’t listed as “sugar” under the ingredient list. Instead look for fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin and dextrose.
#5) Don’t Drink Your Sugar
When you’re trying to eat fresh, natural, and clean try to drink as much water as possible. It helps your body get the right amount of hydration and oxygen and helps your body flush out toxins. Most sodas and juices are all just flavored sugar water anyway (some with bubbles as well). If you’re not a big water fan and want a little flavor, add some fresh fruit to your water. Unsweetened green tea is another good option.
#6) Go Black
If you’re not willing to give up your coffee (I completely understand) go black. The same goes for tea. The added cream and sugar will add extra calories and you’re trying to avoid sugar anyway, right?
#7) Chew Gum
Most chewing gum is sugar-free now, which is great. Keep a pack in your pocket so that if you get a sudden sugar craving, you can grab a piece of gum instead. It will satisfy that sweet craving without the added calories of a piece of cake or a box of cookies.
#8) Take a Look at Your Current Diet
When we try to eliminate something outright, we don’t often stick with it because if you fall off the wagon just once, it’s harder to get back on. Instead, take a look at your current diet. Count up your sugar intake for each day for one week. Average that number out and then cut it in half. That’s your new goal. After one month of this, cut it in half again. That’s your new goal for the next month.
You can keep doing this as often as you want. Remember that your first cut should be processed and refined sugars. By the last cut, you should be down to an occasional natural sugar treat.
Now it’s your turn. Are you planning on cutting back on your sugar intake? Or have you done so already? What are your secrets? How do you avoid fast food and processed foods?