6 Ways To Reduce Your Sugar Consumption
Refined sugar has become a salve to soothe our modern-day stresses. For heartache, we turn to chocolate. For tiredness, we turn to cake. And for pressing deadlines, we turn to biscuits. In fact, there’s a strong case to suggest sugar is the world’s most popular drug. It imbues us with energy and sends our feel-good hormones soaring. Oh, and it can be fiercely addictive, too.
But the white stuff has an insidious side: it shows every sign of contributing to long-term health problems, like obesity, premature ageing, and mood swings, to name a few. The solution: quit sugar, of course! Argh, if only it were that easy. With that in mind, here are 6 ways to help you reduce your sugar intake realistically. To your sweet success!
Play with different flavours
To keep your mind off sugary treats, try exploring alternative flavours. Vanilla, chilli, cinnamon or citrus fruits are much healthier additions to cut through dishes and tantalize your taste buds in a way a doughnut simply can’t.
Use natural unrefined sugars
If you’re looking to sweeten a dish and awaken your senses, try replacing refined sugars with their natural unrefined counterparts. You can rely on coconut palm sugar, 100% maple syrup, raw honey, and Medjool dates to add a dash of sweetness when you need it.
Become an ingredient sleuth
Always do an eagle-eye audit of food labels. Watch out for added sugar! Remember: the higher the ingredient falls on the label, the more there is in the product. Jarred sauces, cereals, ketchup and tinned soups can be extremely high in added sugar.
Sugar-free tomato soup (serves 1)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
30g red lentils
100ml vegetable stock
Pinch black pepper
Pinch smoked paprika
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Season with black pepper to taste.
Serve immediately with fresh bread.
Remember, a craving can last 5-minutes
5-minutes! That’s all it takes for a sugar craving to dissipate. Fight the temptation to indulge with one of these distraction activities:
Do some exercise (the ‘feel-good’ hormones will replace the need for sugar)
Go for a walk
Call a friend
Chew on some sugar-free gum
Have a cup of herbal tea; look for blends with fennel, aniseed or liquorice root for an injection of natural sweetness
Balance your blood sugar levels
If you notice your energy level dip during the day, chances are you’ll be hit with a craving for simple sugars to instantly boost. To prevent these hankerings getting the better of you, add plenty of high-fibre, low GI (glycaemic index) foods to your diet since they release their energy slowly. Think oats wholegrain rice, wholegrain pasta, and quinoa.
Spice up your life
Aside from adding a moreish je ne sais quoi to food, research suggests the spice cinnamon may also help the body maintain a healthier balance of its energy reserves between meals. As aforementioned, a seesawing blood sugar level can drive hunger and cravings; the antioxidant compounds in cinnamon may help lessen those spikes and dips by supporting the way your cells metabolise glucose.
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Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.