- Understand different names for added sugars on food labels and ingredients to identify unhealthy amounts.
- Reduce portion size of meals and snacks to reduce daily sugar intake.
- Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, manage glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce stress-induced cravings.
- Limit daily intake of added sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake for optimal health.
Sugar is a naturally occurring substance present in various types of food. It supplies energy and sweetness to foods. However, consuming too much sugar can have serious health consequences. Excessive consumption of added sugars has been associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting the daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake, which equates to around 12 teaspoons or 50 grams for an adult. Unfortunately, according to the WHO’s latest estimates, the average person consumes almost double this daily.
Sugar can also cause tooth decay when consumed excessively due to its acidic nature and harmful bacteria in saliva. The bacteria feed on sugar, producing acid that breaks down tooth enamel, ultimately leading to cavities and other dental problems like gum disease and tooth surface erosion.
People only need to consume small amounts of added sugar to benefit from its sweetness without the risk of health problems. Here are some tips for cutting down on your sugar intake.
Identify Where Sugar is High
Sugar is often undetected because it hides in various food labels under different names. Knowing what to look for on a nutrition label can be tricky, so it’s essential to understand some of the standard terms used. Here are four categories of food that may contain unhealthy amounts of sugar and the terms used to hide them:
These include cereals, granola bars, crackers, and other packaged or pre-made items. Words like high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, agave nectar, and maltose indicate added sugar.
BBQ sauce, ketchup, honey mustard, and salad dressings tend to have high sugar concentrations without providing any nutritional value. Look for words like sucrose, glucose-fructose, corn syrup solids, and dextrose.
Soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit juices are loaded with added sugars. Common sweeteners include honey, molasses, maple syrup, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose.
Sweet snacks like cakes, cookies, and ice creams are obvious sources of added sugars, but watch out for those hidden in unlikely places, such as frozen pizzas or canned vegetables! Look out for words like fructose and lactose which indicate added sugars in these products.
By familiarizing yourself with the different names for added sugars on food labels – you’ll be better equipped to make healthier choices regarding your diet. Many alternatives available today provide sweetness without added sugars’ extra calories. The healthy Stevia sweetener can be used as an alternative to sugar without counting calories or impacting blood sugar levels.
Reducing the portion size of your meals is a simple but effective way to reduce your daily sugar intake. Eating smaller portions can help you avoid overeating and overeating sugar. Consuming fewer calories from sugary foods means you will have fewer calories available for other sources of energy and nutrition. This, in turn, helps to ensure you get the right balance of nutrients in your diet.
Additionally, reducing the portion size of your meals can help promote weight loss associated with lower levels of sugar consumption. Studies have shown that people who are overweight or obese tend to consume more added sugars than those at a healthy weight. Consuming large portions also strains the digestive system and may lead to indigestion, bloating, and sluggishness.
Finally, reducing the portion size of meals means you’re likely eating more slowly and enjoying each bite rather than wolfing down an entire plateful quickly. Eating slowly gives your body time to register when it is complete, so you don’t over-consuming sugary foods or any other type of food. Eating slowly also aids digestion as it allows for better absorption of nutrients from food.
Regular physical activity not only helps to maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps control sugar levels in the body. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This leads to reduced risks of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Additionally, physical activity releases endorphins – hormones linked to improving mood and reducing stress. Reduced stress means fewer cravings for sugary treats as comfort foods!
Finally, staying fit means you’re less likely to be sedentary throughout the day, one of the leading causes of obesity and other health problems. So get up, move, and stay active as much as possible! There are other ways to lower blood sugar levels, but exercise will be your best bet.
Sugar is not inherently wrong – it’s all about moderation. Knowing which foods contain added sugars and reducing your portion size can help ensure you get the sweetness you need without adverse health consequences. Additionally, staying physically active will help keep your body functioning optimally and reduce stress-induced cravings for sugary snacks. With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to winning the battle versus sugar!