5 Ways to Cut Your Sugar Consumption
There’s a reason why we all love sugar so much and it’s not just because it’s so deliciously sweet. Sugar is just about the purest, simplest food energy you can eat. There’s very little else to it than calories of energy. No fibre; no other nutrients.
Your body is programmed to get the energy and nutrients it needs. It’s why you get hungry. Your body also stores any extra food energy as fat. That’s a natural instinct because, in nature, animals aren’t sure when they will eat again and they might need the stored energy to survive.
The problem is that we don’t live in the wild. In Canada, we are fortunate enough to live in a society where no one has to go hungry. But our bodies don’t get it. They still crave that energy boost that sugar delivers and they still store the extra energy as fat to be used later when there’s no food. But we always have food, so we never burn off the stored energy (fat), which contributes to us being overweight.
You Need to Limit How Much Sugar You Eat
In an effort to reduce obesity and increase the nutrition in our diets, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on all nations to encourage their citizens to reduce their sugar intake to no more than 5% of their daily calorie requirements.
Here are some numbers that give you a clear idea how much extra sugar we eat:
- 6 teaspoons – the approximate amount of sugar we should eat to meet the WHO recommendations of 5% of our daily calories.
- 18 teaspoons – the approximate amount of sugar that Canadians consume every day
- 192 – the number of added calories we get from the extra sugar we eat each day
- 5,952 – the number of extra calories from sugar in a month. That’s the equivalent of almost 2 pounds of body weight.
In other words, the argument can be made that, if you cut out the extra sugar in your diet, you could lose an additional 2 pounds a month.
As with any weight loss, if you try to do too much in one step, you’ll have less chance of reaching your goal. If you can’t see yourself going without your daily sugar fix, try some of the following tips to help you cut down as much as you can:
1. Start Learning as Much as You Can
Tracking how much sugar you eat can be deceptively difficult. If you think you only have a couple teaspoons in your morning coffee and not much more, think again. Large quantities of sugar hide in a wider variety of foods than you might realize.
a. There are 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 355ml Coke. That’s 66% more than WHO’s daily recommended intake.
b. You’ll find remarkably high levels of sugar in foods like spaghetti sauce, granola bars and ketchup.
c. Sugar can appear on the ingredients label of a food product as any one of 56 different items, including molasses, sucrose and corn syrup.
2. Fruit Juice Isn’t the Answer
Opting for fruit juices is one of the first things people do when the find out how many calories are in fizzy soft drinks. A 355ml bottle of Minutemaid Lemonade has just as much sugar as a 355ml Coke. Try low-sodium vegetable juices or making real iced tea.
3. Use Water to Reduce Sugar from Fruit Juice
If you still like the flavour or the idea of fruit juice, you can add sparkling water, or good ol’ tap water, to your favourite juice. The more you add, the less sugar you’ll get. You’ll be surprised at how much flavour remains even when you use more water than juice – and you won’t have to bring home so much juice from the grocery store.
4. Read Restaurant Nutrition Guidelines
Restaurant food often contains higher levels of sugar to help make it taste better and to keep you coming back for more. Check the nutrition listings online or ask for them when you arrive at the restaurant.
5. Have an Apple
Or an orange, or pear, or whatever is you favourite fresh fruit. We are often struck by irresistible cravings for sugar. Next time one grabs you, try having some fruit instead. Chances are the craving will go away.
Cutting down on how much sugar you eat is just one way to lose and manage your weight. The nutritional consultants at your local Herbal One Centre are ready to show you how to reach and maintain your target weight.