How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake and Improve Your Overall Health
Lowering your sugar consumption is one of the best things you can do for your overall wellbeing. Although it may not be easy to eliminate all added sugar from your meals, these tips may help!
Sugar comes in two forms: natural (intrinsic) and added. Natural sugars come from foods like fruit or milk, which provide essential nutrients that promote good health.
1. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet provides your body with essential nutrients for optimal performance, and may even help protect you against certain health conditions.
A well-balanced diet should include foods from all five major food groups – starchy carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy products and healthy fats. These five sources provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals it requires for proper functioning.
Sugar should not exceed 10% of your daily calorie needs, which is approximately 12 teaspoons (48 grams) on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Avoiding sugar-laden treats like cake, cookies and candy may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s possible. Thanks to legislation passed recently by the European Union, food manufacturers must now disclose added sugars on their labels for consumers’ convenience.
2. Avoid Sugary Beverages
When it comes to cutting back on sugar consumption, one of the easiest ways is by avoiding beverages that contain added sugars. These include sodas, sports/energy drinks, juice, bottled teas, coffee creamers and other sweetened drinks.
These are the primary sources of sugar in your diet and have been linked to weight gain, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Reduce the consumption of these drinks and try substituting them with water, seltzer in fun flavors or infused water. You can also enhance your health by adding fruit, herbs and spices to the water or seltzer you drink.
Reduce your sugar consumption gradually – it won’t be a chore! Not only will this help you shed some pounds, feel more energized and improve overall wellbeing, but the effects are long lasting!
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a nutritious diet gives you energy, helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of chronic illnesses. Furthermore, it breaks the cycle of unhealthy cravings that sugar can trigger.
For optimal health, focus on eating a variety of fresh, whole foods that have little or no processing. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and dairy products that have not been altered in any way.
Limit your intake of processed and junk foods like fried foods, canned soups, fast food and desserts. Instead, opt for healthier options like lean meats, poultry and fish; whole grain breads and pastas; fresh fruit and vegetable juices; low-fat milk or yogurt.
Make small, achievable changes to your diet over time. For instance, switching from daily soda or other sweetened drinks to water or non-calorie drinks can more than halve your added sugar consumption.
Exercise is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle and should be included in your daily routine. Not only will it reduce your risk for heart disease, hypertension, obesity and type 2 diabetes but it may also lift your spirits and improve sleep quality.
Physical activity increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – known as the “good” cholesterol – and reduces unhealthy triglycerides in your blood. Furthermore, it keeps your blood flowing smoothly which may prevent cardiovascular diseases like heart disease or stroke.
Additionally, exercise increases insulin sensitivity so less insulin is necessary to move glucose from your blood into muscles and help them use it for energy production. This may reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome – a combination of high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waistline and high blood pressure – both conditions linked to obesity.
If you’re new to exercise, start slowly and build up. Making exercise part of your daily or weekly routine will increase the likelihood that it becomes part of who you are; making it part of your regimen will make it more likely that it becomes a part of who you are and increase its benefits.