Today, I want to share some tips on how to reduce sugar consumption in our lives.
I grew up in the 90s. Aka the time of low fat, nonfat and skim EVERYTHING. I remember thinking that gummies were good to go because they had a fat free label on them. I associated healthy with lite, low cal, and half the fat labels. I would ask for dressing on the side and avoided foods like olive oil, nut butter, and whole milk. I was religious about my Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes, 2 Splenda packets in my coffee and flavored fat-free greek yogurt. And let’s not forget the diet coke IV that I basically had hooked up to me 24/7.
So. Much. Has. Changed.
I know I am not alone in this, but it is so interesting to think about how much has actually changed for so many of us. Although my diet was “light” and “low cal”, I was actually loaded up on sugar – the real and the artificial. Even worse, I consumed almost no dietary fat and fiber. Yikes! Today, I can look back at those habits of my college years and know that they weren’t the healthiest (to say the least). Thank goodness the SKIM phase of the 90s is so yesterday (literally).
Sugar is one of the main inflammatory foods that people consume today. The worst part is so many of us do not know how much we are actually consuming and it is wreaking havoc on our bodies. It is no secret that too much sugar is correlated with the major chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and mental illness. It’s a problem and a really big one.
So what can we do about it? Lots. And it all starts with awareness. Keep reading to see my tips on how to spot sugar and some ideas for snacks you CAN enjoy without putting your body in sugar overload.
What to look for on a label:
Sugar is literally everywhere. It is added to the majority of processed foods. What’s worse, it is added to tons of processed foods that are actually advertised as healthy! This kills me! It is right there in front of you – look for added sugars on a label. It is its own line item. That means that in addition to any natural (or unnatural) sugars that occur in the ingredients, the manufacturer has actually added in more sugar to the product. One of the biggest culprits of this is with ‘health food bars’ – of which they are a bazillion options! If a bar has added sugar, chances are I am not eating it or recommending it to my audience/clients. I’ve seen bars with 18g+ of sugar and are marketed as healthy. Doesn’t mean they aren’t delish and you can’t enjoy them once in a while… but if you eating bars on the reg make sure you are making a good choice. One of my fave healthy (and DELISH) bars are the Health Warrior Chia Bars with NO added sugar and is loaded with dietary fiber and real food. There are only 3g of sugar in the bars and they do not sub with any sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are just as bad as the real thing. This just goes to show you that real food can actually taste incredible and be a good snack! Chia, being the all-star ingredient is an excellent source of Omega 3 fats (the good ones) and fiber to help keep us full. I am genuinely such a fan! And no, it does not compromise on taste.. because that would be boring AF! Current fave flavors include caramel sea salt, coconut, vanilla and acai berry. But I have tried them all and approve!
Don’t drink your sugar:
Take a long hard look at your beverages. Commercially produced orange juice, apple juice or tropical blends that we had on the breakfast table as kids are not our friend. It is quite literally drinking 30+ grams of sugar first thing in the morning. Not only does this spiral our blood sugar response into a roller coaster, but it only makes us crave more sugar later in the day. The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we want. Simple. Our bodies’ chemically reaction to sugar is to keep craving more. In so many ways, sugar overload is an addiction. Think of how many people you see at the mall nursing a big gulp gallon of soda (that prob cost 99 cents)! What do you think would happen if you took that away from them? Um, I wouldn’t want to be in that line of fire. Liquids are one of the biggest contributors to sugar intake in the SAD (Standard American Dier). And no, diet liquids aren’t better. In my opinion, one of the best ways to reduce your sugar intake is to look at your beverages. Reduce the commercial juices, sodas, flavored lattes and diet drinks. Stick with water, tea, and coffee (in moderation).
Keep it simple & stay savvy:
If you wander the aisles of the average grocery store today, you will see 1000s of processed foods being advertised to you as healthy. Foods like cereal loaded with high fructose corn syrup (sugar sugar sugar) and artificial sweeteners. So often I see “a source of whole grains” or “protein packed” on packaged foods that are actually not good for us at all. In my opinion, it’s super confusing for the average consumer. Without the background in nutrition, or general interest in the topic – I wouldn’t know the difference either. Don’t fall for marketing. Look for real food ingredients and quality ingredients. Items with protein, dietary fiber, healthy fats and minimal sugar. Multigrain Lucky Charms are still Lucky Charms. That protein granola with almonds is likely just as high in sugar as the lucky charms. Stay sugar savvy my friends!
Thanks for reading! I hope you learned a little something about how to spot sugar and reduce it daily.
Until next time,
Thank you to my friends at Health Warrior for sponsoring this blog post. I am proud to work with brands that are aligned with my values and are putting amazing healthy products out into the world.
Disclaimer: The above opinions are my own professional opinion as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. They are in no way meant to diagnose or treat a medical condition.