Is it time to reduce sugar in your diet? The average American consumes about 160 pounds of refined sugar every year. Think about that for a minute. That’s a lot! Just two hundred years ago we only used about 20 pounds of sugar per person per year.
We know all this sugar isn’t good for us. It’s rotting our teeth, giving us Type II Diabetes, and contributing to the obesity epidemic in the western world. The bad thing is that added sugar has found its way into all sorts of foods we consume on a daily basis and it isn’t just the sugary breakfast cereal or the ice cream that is the culprit. There’s sugar in our salad dressings, our frozen dinners, and pasta sauce to give you just a few examples.
What can we do to reduce sugar we consume on a daily basis? Let’s start by cutting out some of the big offenders.
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Let’s start with something easy that will also have a huge impact. Stop drinking soda and other sugary drinks. That includes seemingly innocent things like the sweet tea you’re enjoying or the fancy coffee drink but, it could also be your favorite juice beverage. Look at the labels and figure out how many teaspoons of sugar you’re drinking each day. Then cut them out. Stick to water, black coffee and herbal tea for a few days. It’s not an easy transition, but it will be well worth it in the end.
Next it’s time to give up your favorite sugary treats. Enjoy a bowl of low carb hot cereal or scramble up some eggs instead of pouring a bowl of sweet cereal. Skip the muffin, cake, cookies and candy. Instead reach for a piece of fruit or cut up some fresh veggies.
Keep it to one serving of starch per meal, about the size of your fist. If you're making a sandwich, try using one piece cut in half and adding extra protein and low starch vegetables to it. Focus on filling half your plate with low starch vegetables and 1/4 of your plate with protein and the other 1/4 starch.
Find low-sugar or low carb replacements for your favorite treats. Fix a sandwich if you’re hungry in the afternoon instead of raiding the cookie jar. Or grab some cheese and crackers. Do your best to train your brain and taste buds to not crave sweet treats all day long.
Last but not least, work on reducing the added sugars that sneak into your diet via all sorts of convenience foods. Anything that’s labeled low fat, fat free or gluten free is worth avoiding since the fat is usually replaced by lots of sugar and salt to make it palatable. Your best bet is to stick to real food. Stick with single ingredients and cook your meals from scratch. This allows you to control what’s going into the food you eat - including the sugar.
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Jennifer Smith is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.