Sugar, the simple carbohydrate that kills diets and wreaks havoc on a diabetic’s blood glucose level, is loaded with calories and is very unsatisfying. Sugar simply does not fill you up and keep your appetite suppressed. The simple carbohydrate is digested quickly and is distributed to the body faster than any other source of calories. Unfortunately, sugar is also converted into fat when it is not used up, so sugar adds to the waistline of people who do not watch how they eat.
Simple sugars, particularly the refined sugars found in candies and other man-made food items, are possible to avoid. One just needs to know where the sugars come from and eliminate or replace the food culprits with a healthier alternative. Listed here is a guide on how to cut the amount of sugar you consume in your daily diet, whether it be for weight loss, diabetic reasons, or general health.
1. Steer clear of the candy dish
Hard candies, compromised almost completely of refined sugars, are often placed in convenient locations throughout the home and office. How easy is it to reach into the bowl and mindlessly unwrap a jolly rancher, pop it into your mouth, and repeat the process 5 minutes later? Pretty darn easy. Exercise some control, and keep your hands away from the dish. If possible, replace the dish with a healthy alternative such as a carrot or celery dish. At least then you’ll have something more satisfying to munch on. If you can’t replace the dish, try sticking it in an inconvenient location, such as on top of the refrigerator or in the back corner of a cluttered office desk.
2. Drink diet and light drinks
Soda, another culprit loaded with sugar, is loaded. One 12 oz can contains around 40 grams of the sweet stuff. Soda, like water, moves through the body quickly, the major difference being soda has 150 calories compared to waters 0 calories. Diet sodas and drink mixes, such as Crystal Light, are sugar-free alternatives that don’t add to calorie consumption and don’t raise blood glucose levels. Drink diet, avoid the spike.
3. Use Equal or Splenda in your morning brew
Coffee is a low calorie beverage, that is until cream and sugar are added in. Straight black coffee is very unpalatable, though. Equal and Splenda, the two safest alternatives to sugar, are calorie free and won’t mess with glucose levels in the blood while simultaneously sweetening your wake-up medicine. These two sugar substitutes are life savers to anybody who likes their coffee sweet, but not loaded.
4. Use Splenda in your recipes
Splenda now offers this sugar substitute in a baking form. The baking Splenda can be used in place of sugar in almost any recipe. The texture of your foods may be a little different than if the dish was cooked with regular sugar, but the taste comes out the same.
5. Chew sugar-free gum
This has two benefits. For avid gum chewers, chewing sugar-free gums such as Extra, Orbit, and Trident reduces the sugar ingested from the flavoring. Although a regular stick of, say, Winterfresh, only contains 2 grams of sugar in a single stick, when a person chews 5-10 sticks a day, the sugar, and calories, add up. The other benefit to chewing gum is the fact that your mouth is kept busy. You’re less likely to reach in and grab a tootsie roll (see guideline #1) when your mouth is already chomping. This gum chewing method is the method I use frequently to keep food I don’t want to eat out of my mouth. *Try this! Put a piece of gum in your mouth and make yourself chew it for at least 1 hour at a time when you would otherwise be munching down potato chips. This neat little trick works if you have the discipline to keep the gum in your mouth.
6. Watch the fruit
OK, so this one is more for diabetics than dieters, but still, the fact remains that fruits are loaded with sugar. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is a very healthy way of keeping weight down, but if you suffer from diabetes, fruit also adds to your blood glucose levels. Just remember to keep track of your blood sugar, and chances are, fruit won’t be a problem area in your diet.
7. Avoid the extra spoonful of sugar on your oatmeal or cereal
This goes for any food. My grandmother put sugar in almost anything she cooked, literally! The food could be tomato soup, chili, or even macaroni and cheese! Whatever it was, there would definitely be a lot of sugar involved. I don’t know how many people have this problem, but it is a terrible habit that needs be kept under control. If you must add sugar to all of your foods, once again, use Equal or Splenda. (In moderation, of course.)
8. Keep busy!
You’re not going to be thinking about food, most of the time, if you’re busy talking with Aunt Marge or taking pictures of the local soccer game. A person’s mind can only concentrate on so much at once, and food won’t be it if you’re too busy shooting a few hoops. Keep busy, and many of the food woes will go away for the time.
This guide will help you lose weight, control blood glucose, and simply help a person live a healthier life. Follow these steps along with other healthier eating habits in order to achieve your health goals! As always, if you get confused as to what a healthy diet is, visit your local registered dietitian.