A cookie here, a candy bar there, a Red Bull to speed through the mid-afternoon slump, and oh look, someone brought doughnuts to the office!
It’s no secret that kicking the sugar habit is essential to optimal health. While an occasional treat can be good for the soul, regularly smashing sugary snacks and beverages wreaks havoc on your body. The hard part is figuring out how to tame the sugar monster, particularly when companies seem to get sneakier and sneakier about slipping it into their products.
Start by avoiding obvious sources of the sweet stuff (like sodas and desserts), and focusing on eating whole, recognisable foods. Then up your game by trying these tips for limiting added sugar.
Remodel Your Mornings
Parents around the world proclaim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet countless people turn their morning feed into a lethal sugar bomb. Cereals – even the kinds that don’t come in colourful boxes with toys inside – top the list of offenders. Other culprits include fruit juices, jams and jellies, flavoured oatmeals, and pastries. Nix the brekkie carbs and simple sugars in favour of proteins, healthy fats, and whole fruits.
Switch Up Your Snacks
Sugar is the ultimate stow away. That sweet little rascal worms its way into countless snack foods, even ones that market themselves as healthy. Replace bars and chews with savoury snacks like nuts, jerky, and dried fruits (but be sure to check the labels for added sugar before you buy). Pack snacks ahead of time so you’re never tempted to cheat with candy or sugar-laden ‘energy’ bars.
Get Discerning About Dairy
Ice cream isn’t the only dairy that could be decimating your abs. Plenty of dairy foods that are touted as ‘healthy’ options are loaded with sly sugars. Beware of sweetened milks (both dairy and non-dairy) and yoghurts, especially low-fat versions which are often bolstered with extra sugar to improve taste in the absence of fat.
Learn To Read Labels
Nutritional labels post total sugar in foods and beverages, but don’t specify how much is natural and how much is added. It’s up to you to get educated on which ingredients are code names for sneaky sugar. Anything that ends in -ose (fructose, dextrose, glucose, sucrose) is a sweetener. There’s also corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, and fruit juice concentrates, as well as things that sound like they could be healthier alternatives, like molasses, honey, and maple syrup.
Up Healthy Fat And Protein Intake
Yes, you should eat your veggies, and yes, you can still eat carbs, but you should bulk up on protein and healthy fats to ensure you stay full and provide balanced energy. Staying satisfied and energised is key to avoiding blood-sugar swings and the temptation to give in to a quick sugar fix.