Eating too much sugar can significantly impact your health. Added sugars, or the sugars not naturally found in foods, are found in popular foods and beverages such as sodas, sweets, and processed foods. These sugars can lead to long-term health issues and can sneak up in your diet when you least expect it. Added sugars are delicious and can be very addicting, and they may be hiding in foods that you thought were otherwise healthy. Follow these tips to easily reduce sugar from your diet once and for all.
1. Toss It
The first step to easily reducing unwanted added sugars from your diet is to get rid of what you currently have. Purge your kitchen and pantry shelves of any white and brown sugars, syrups, and honey. If you don't have them in your home, you will be less likely to reach for them as you cook. When you're shopping, take some time to compare food labels and look for items with the lowest amount of "added sugars". Many foods will have natural sugars in them, however, the ones you want to look out for are "added". Try to eat common food options such as cereal, pancakes, coffee, and tea with slightly less sugar than usual, and gradually wean yourself of the added sugars that you use for flavor until you are used to eating or drinking without these additives.
Another significant way to easily reduce sugars from your daily routine is to swap soda and sugary drinks for water or diet drink options. While water is the ideal option, you can still find ways to cut sugar by reaching for drinks without added sugars. Keep in mind that drinks that might seem healthy, such as smoothies and juices, often have high amounts of syrups and added sugars. Instead of buying a smoothie at a drive-through or restaurant, consider building your smoothie at home with almond milk and sugar-free yogurt. Another thing to consider is how your body processes sugar—calories from liquids are absorbed quickly which can lead to a quick increase in your blood sugar. The next time you feel thirsty, try reaching for the following—water, flavored water with fruit or essence, unsweetened sparkling water, herbal teas, black or green tea, or coffee.
2. Replace It
While sugar may taste amazing, there are several other ways to enhance the flavor of your food without added sugars. Try enhancing your food with spices instead of sugars such as ginger, cinnamon, or nutmeg. Let beverages absorb essence from fresh fruit or vegetables like lemon or cucumbers to add flavor. You can also try using almond, vanilla, orange, or lemon extracts when cooking or baking meals. Small amounts of extracts or essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or grapefruit can pack a flavor punch. Try adding one to two drops of lavender essential oil to desserts or beverages, add a drop of peppermint oil to your baking recipes or your water bottle, or add two to three drops of grapefruit or orange essential oil to a glass of champagne to replace sugary juices in cocktails such as mimosas. With essential oils, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to flavor. Another option while baking is to switch out white or brown sugar for unsweetened applesauce. The natural sweetness of the apples will help sweeten your food without the unwanted and unhealthy sugars.
3. Eat More Fruit
It may seem daunting to try and include more fruits in your diet, especially considering how quickly they expire. There are several ways to add fruit to your diet. Consider eating fresh, canned, freeze-dried, or even frozen fruit weekly to add some natural sweetness and flavors to your meals without adding unhealthy sugars. You will want to avoid fruit that is canned in syrups. Instead of reaching for the same fruits every time you shop, try opening up your palate to the large variety of fruits on the market that you otherwise would avoid. The list of fruits is endless, but we recommend adding the following to your shopping list, on top of the regular fruits you often buy—raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries, kiwi, peaches, pears, dragonfruits, blackberries, figs, grapefruit, guava, huckleberry, melon, and mango.
4. Up the Protein
Protein has been known to reduce appetite and can help make you feel full for longer. Sugar, on the other hand, is metabolized quickly and can lead to more frequent cravings soon after eating. Try finding healthy and creative ways to add more protein into your diet and when you find yourself craving something sweet, consider opting for a snack boosted with protein instead. A few ways to add protein include opting for protein bars or shakes, adding protein powder to your water, smoothie, or coffee, or have fun putting together a creative power bowl with veggies, avocado, bacon, tuna, chicken, fish, lunch meat, shrimp, cheese and beans. The protein possibilities are endless!
5. Use Keto-Friendly Ingredients
Finally, check out some of the amazing KETO-friendly snacks that are out on the market! You may be surprised to find that there are several sweet and salty foods already available to use, with low sugar in mind. A few of our favorites include BHU KETO Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (1g of sugar), BHU KETO Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (zero grams of sugar), and BHU KETO Cookie Dough (1g of sugar).
Although it might seem daunting to cut sugar, follow these five steps to start easily reducing sugar today to enhance your diet and improve your long-term health!