Are you looking for ways to eat less added sugar? No matter how careful we think we are in our food choices, the truth is that sneaky added sugars are present in many more products than we might think. They can work their way into your diet without you even knowing. When you reach for a doughnut or a candy bar, you know you are eating sugar, however there are plenty of foods that contain sugar that you might not even realise. Some foods contain natural sugars (fruit and dairy) but sugar can also be added to food products, and these are the ones you should be most concerned about if you want to cut down. Here are five simple ways to eat less added sugar.
1. Avoid Sweetened Beverages
We all know to cut out things like carbonated soft drinks, but did you now that the likes of fruit juice, sports drinks, coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages can all contain problematic added sugars? If you want to avoid these completely, then the best way is to drink water or black, green and fruit teas (without milk or sugar). Watching what you drink is one of the best ways to eat less added sugar.
2. Always Read Labels
It’s important to always read the labels of food products before buying and eating them. Very often, products that claim to be low fat or diet alternatives are still packed full of added sugars. Words like malt syrup, invert sugar, agave nectar and corn syrup are all things to look out for and avoid. Familiarise yourself with all the sneaky names for sugar – there are dozens of them. There is always a handy stat that shows you how much of the total sugar content comes from added sugar sources so look for that on food labels.
3. Use Fruit as a Natural Sweetener
You should really get in to the habit of using real pieces of fruit and some spices to flavour things like drinks and yogurts, because the truth is that many "fruit flavoured" products tend to use syrups to achieve their desired effect. Rather than buying a yogurt with a fashionable bottom fruit layer, simply combine some natural yogurt with fresh fruits to achieve the same taste with no added sugar!
4. Switch up Your Visuals
Sometimes it can be as simple as mind over matter! The cute bowl of sugar might be attractive next to your coffee maker, but its presence is only ever going to be a temptation for you. Stash things like this out sight so that those who regularly use them can still get them, but you don’t have to be faced with the battle of resisting every time you put the kettle on!
It’s an unrealistic expectation to be able to cut out all added sugars at once. It just sets you up for failure because you will go through too many cravings. Instead, give yourself scheduled treat times where you can indulge in your favourite dessert or soft drink after a hard day at work. Treating yourself once every now and then will help to prevent you from crashing and bingeing because your body misses the added sugar too much.