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How to Cut Back on Sugar

Updated on June 17, 2018
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks writes for HubPages and Blasting News. She loves sharing interesting information with people all over the world.

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How Much Sugar Are You Eating Anyway?

You will be surprised to know that the average person eats 22 teaspoons of sugar every day. Does that surprise you? This amount is three times the daily amount recommended by the American Heart Association.

You might say you do not eat that much sugar, but keep in mind that most of that amount is hidden sugar in the foods you eat and the sugary drinks you consume.

Reasons Not To Go Cold Turkey

If you want to cut out eating and drinking so much sugar, it would be wise to do so gradually. Don't go cold turkey because your body is used to sugar. If you cut out eating all sugar at once, your body might have withdrawal symptoms resulting in headaches, anxiety, and mood swings.

Therefore, it is better to take one step at a time, so your body has time to adjust to the change. Gradually reducing the amount will make it less noticeable to your body that you are cutting back.

It is wise to take one step at a time. This way your body will have time to adjust to what's happening to it. You should gradually reduce the amount of sugar you are eating. Your body will adjust to the small change, and you will crave sugar less.

Don't be surprised if weaning yourself off sugar becomes a challenge for you. Sugar is in so many foods and when you eat it, sugar becomes addictive. Even so, cutting back on sugar is wiser than trying to cut it out all at once.

Types of Sugar

Refined white sugar is the worst to eat. So, try to cut out refined white sugar first. That's the kind of sugar you put in your coffee, tea, lemonade, Kool-Aid or add to baked goods. The bloodstream absorbs refined white sugar quickly, causing surges in blood glucose levels.

Refined sugar is also added to countless food products during processing. Refined sugar is found in foods you would think of. For instance, it is in ketchup, salad dressing, bread, meats and other foods.

Refined sugar might be identified by manufacturers by other names, such as cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or some other unfamiliar name, but they are still refined sugar. No doubt you know sugar is found in molasses, honey, and maple syrup even though it is not always processed the same way refined white sugar is. Even so, they have the same harmful effect.

If you are trying to cut back on sugar, here is some good news. You don't have to give up sugar that is found naturally in foods. This includes fructose in fruit and lactose in milk products. The amount of sugar in fruit is in proportion to the amount of fiber and other nutrients in it. So, when you cut down on sugar in other foods, feel free to continue eating your fruits.

Artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than natural sugar. They provide the sweet taste without calories, but they do not satisfy your cravings. In fact, artificial sweeteners often leave you craving more. Therefore, if you want to cut back on sugar, artificial sweeteners are not the answer.

Give Up Pastries

Sugar is found in pastries, cookies, muffins, and white bread. You can satisfy your craving for carbs by eating whole grains. They are converted to sugar during digestion, but they are absorbed more slowly and provide steady energy.

If you are trying to cut back on eating sugar, remember sugar is found in foods you didn't even realize. Restaurant food and take-out food is loaded with sugar. Did you know there is sugar in your pizza crust even though you might not taste it? While you are trying to cut back on sugar, it is best to do your own cooking. That way you will know exactly what ingredients are in your food.

While you are cutting out sugar, feel free to indulge in more healthy fats, such as nuts, olive oil, avocado, dairy and lean protein, such as eggs, turkey, and legumes. These foods will keep you feeling full and energized. The added bonus is that they prevent your blood sugar from rising as it would if you had consumed sugar.

Give Up Sugary Drinks

An easy and quick way to cut back on sugar is to give up sugary drinks. Sugar in found in sodas, fruit juice, sports drinks, iced tea, and other sweetened beverages. One 12-ounce can of cola has about nine teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association suggests only a daily limit of only six teaspoons. Therefore, having one can of soda has more sugar than the daily dose recommended. Sometimes, people don't stop at having only one can.

Liquid sugar found in sweetened beverages or drinks made from fruit juice add lots of calories without satisfying hunger. If you need something to drink, try substituting soda for seltzer, which has zero calories and no added sugar. You can also swap sugary drinks, fruit-flavored beverages, and fruit juice, for fruit-infused bottled water or water with fresh fruit slices added to it. You will get the same satisfying flavor without the sugar.

Creative Ways To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

It is possible to satisfy a sweet tooth without eating refined sugar. A creative way is to add spices to your food. Instead of using sugar, add cinnamon or vanilla extract to your coffee, cereal, or baked goods. Your sugar craving will be satisfied without sugar. You can also add other spices to your food and drink in place of sugar. Try adding chicory, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and citrus zest for the sweet taste that is not refined sugar.

Within a few days of making these change, you will see that your craving for sugar will be much lower.

Easy Ways To Cut Back On Sugar

  • Eliminate refined sugar.
  • Cut back on pastries.
  • Cut back on sugary drinks.
  • Use spices in foods and drinks instead of sugar.

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    • profile image

      AmeriBev 

      2 years ago

      With respect to sugar-sweetened beverages, there is no need to eliminate these products from one’s diet. These beverages come in a wide array of calorie counts and sizes and can be incorporated into a healthy diet and active life. This is the message driving our industry’s Balance Calories Initiative, which encourages people to strike a better overall balance between everything they eat, drink or do. Bottom line: education efforts that embrace a more holistic approach will prove more productive than targeting any one source of calories.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks so much, Rebecca, for reading and commenting on my hub. I am going to check out some of your hubs.

    • Rebecca Burg profile image

      Rebecca Burg 

      2 years ago from Florida

      You have such great, useful knowledge - thank you for sharing it. Cutting out sugar is so important for anyone, and really good for cancer patients.

      It's disturbing how much added sugar is in processed foods and common beverages.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks RonElFran for reading and commenting on my hub. I am going to check out some of your hubs.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I know I need to cut back on sugar, and you've made some good suggestions. The idea that you shouldn't try to cut it out cold turkey makes a lot of sense.

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