Did you know there is one change you can make in your food plan that will be a game changer when it comes to how you feel and move – and even how you look. This change involves eliminating one ingredient that has virtually NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE and yet is almost everywhere you look.
You might already have guessed what I’m talking about: Added sugar.
This is “extra” sugar that is added to your foods, like the kind found in syrups, candy, cookies, processed foods, and even in maple syrup and honey.
(It is NOT the naturally occurring sugar like the kind found in fruits 🍎, veggies 🥦, and other foods that contain fiber and loads of micronutrients your body needs!)
Did you know the American Heart Association has recently altered their recommendation for added sugar to be 100 calories/day for women and 150 calories/day for men? 100 calories is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons.
Most of us get much more than that! Just for an example, a can of coke has 39 grams of sugar (see above), and a small caramel iced coffee from your local cafe down the street has 25 grams of sugar. WHAT! That is crazy! 😬
It is a process to wean off of sugar, but I highly encourage you to take the plunge. We have been doing a Healthy Habits challenge in our boot camp this month, and we are asking people everywhere to take the low sugar challenge.
Sugar contains zero essential nutrients but DOES have a lot of calories … plus it raises havoc with your blood sugar, increases inflammation and can lead to cravings. Not only that, but over time it can set up a chain reaction with your body’s hormones that leads to storing belly fat and chronic health issues.
While maple syrup and honey do contain some micronutrients and health benefits, your body still processes them as sugar, so if you do use them, just watch your portion sizes.
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, I’m not going to candy-coat it: ditching the sugar can be challenging. But with some simple tactics (and some patience) you can go a LONG way toward cutting down on your sugar intake pretty painlessly.
Some things you can do:
Read food labels or look at nutrition info online for your favorite foods. Ignorance is not bliss for your body!
Track your sugar intake over the course of a day so you have a baseline for your intake. Most food journal apps let you track sugar level. Subtract out the sugar from natural sources like fruit. This likely will be eye-opening!
Next, try these swaps / ideas:
Reach for fruit instead of cookies, cakes and other sweet treats. To keep it fun, try new-to-you fruits. Example: pomegranate seeds are totally addicting!
Frozen fruit also works really well instead of ice cream (you can blend an avocado if you want creamy)
Infuse your water with berries and/or cucumber or try unsweetened flavored seltzer water.
Brew up some herbal tea that’s been infused with fruit. Drink it warm OR cold!
Brush your teeth right after you eat!
One last thing… be sure you stay hydrated to help with cravings.
Bonus benefit: after just a few days eating less sugar, take a look in the mirror. Chances are you’ll notice a positive change in your skin, because sugar contributes to wrinkles, uneven skin tone and other issues.
Have I convinced you yet? 😊 Seriously, you might be surprised at how different you feel once you lower your sugar intake.
If you need more help cutting the sugar habit, reach out here and let's talk. Just send me an email at pam@healthandsoulfitness and I'll be happy to offer a 30 minute consultation completely free of charge.