7 Ways To Start Eating Less Sugar
1. Take Baby Steps
Going cold turkey is great in theory but almost impossible in reality. According to Dr. Jim LaValle, R.Ph., C.C.N., a clinical pharmacist, author and board-certified clinical nutritionist, taking a slower approach could be the key to long-term success. “If you normally take two teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, cut down to one for a week, then one-half the next week,” he said. “Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you won’t need sugar at all.”
2. Watch Out For Hidden Sugar
Just because you aren’t stuffing your face with cookies and candy and syrupy Starbucks drinks doesn’t mean you aren’t consuming sugar. “Cough syrups, chewing gum, tomato sauce, baked beans, soups, salad dressings and lunch meats often contain hidden sugar,” Dr. LaValle says. Some of the biggest culprits, he added, are fresh fruit smoothies, sports drinks and bars. Read those ingredient lists, friends. Unfortunately, the sweet stuff goes by a lot more names than just sugar. Familiarize yourself with this list of common aliases (hint: anything with the word “syrup”) to ensure you're not unknowingly eating more of it.
3. Find Ways To De-stress
This one’s a little unexpected, but per Dr. LaValle, stress can make you crave sugar, since eating sweets can help increase production of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter. To avoid a stress-induced candy binge, Dr. LaValle suggests taking “stress-balancing supplements that contain ingredients like rhodiola, ashwagandha or B vitamins and GABA, which can help counteract stress hormones and support better serotonin production without having to resort to sweets.” Beyond supplements, here are some more easy ways to de-stress your life. From starting your day by meditating and practicing gratitude to making more of an effort to spend time with friends and getting outside more often.
4. Be Wary Of Low-fat Products
Sneaky sugars strike again. Low-fat products seem like they would be healthy, but oftentimes they’re worse for you than their full-fat alternatives. That’s because these foods replace fat with sugar for the sake of taste. Instead of falling into this sugar trap, enjoy full-fat foods in moderation. They’ll likely contain less sugar and taste a hell of a lot better. And again, if you’re not sure how much sugar you’re consuming, a quick scan of the ingredient list will raise any red flags.
5. Eat More Naturally Found Healthy Fats
In addition to steering clear of low-fat products, we’ll take it one step further to say that you should actually eat more fat. Healthy fats found in nuts, avocados and whole eggs work to stabilize blood sugar and keep you fuller longer (meaning you’re less likely to reach for a quick sugar fix when your energy dips).
6. Train Yourself To Like Black Coffee
Yes, Mocha Frappuccinos are delicious, but they, like many coffee drinks, are loaded with sugar. It might take a little getting used to, but try to train yourself to drink coffee black—or with a little whole or unsweetened almond milk, if you must. Just stay away from sugar, artificial sweeteners (which come with a host of their own issues) or packaged creamers. It might take some getting used to, but in our experience, you’ll learn to love the pure coffee taste. Worst case scenario, you can pivot from coffee to caffeinated tea if you just can’t get the hang of the taste.
7. Stick To The Perimeter Of The Grocery Store
We’ve already established that a little strategy when grocery shopping pays off (both for your waistline and your wallet). By spending the majority of your time in the store on its perimeters, where most of the whole foods are, you aren’t subjecting yourself to walking down aisles of cookies and chips and other stuff you probably shouldn’t be eating. Out of sight, out of mind. And besides, you’ll feel way more satisfied after snacking on a handful of gorgeous cherries than you would’ve shoveling a bunch of Oreos into your mouth.