We probably all know that sure is unhealthy, weakens our immune systems, and increases our chances for diseases. However, that sweet tooth of ours often gets the better of us! So how do we take control of it?
One Step at a Time
When trying to cut back on sugar it can help to go slowly. You can train your taste buds to favor other foods, but training takes time.
Try drinking one less soda a week or even try substituting soda for something else throughout the week to start to get a taste for something different. There are flavored waters, sports drinks, and natural sodas that don’t contain the amount of sugar that regular sugars do. Don’t try to eliminate it overnight, but slowly and steadily.
If you are a fan of chocolate, slowly start to eat chocolate that is a little darker. Look for chocolate with less sugar and more cacao. If you are used to milk chocolate and you suddenly try to start eating 85% cacao, you’ll find it very bitter like eating raw cocoa powder, but instead go gradually. You’ll be pleased that you can still enjoy your favorite treat with much less sugar.
When you are baking and the recipe calls for sugar, leave a quarter of the amount out of the recipe. You won’t even notice. Next time try a little less sugar. And start looking for recipes that call for less sugar in baking too. You’ll find some great low sugar baking recipes that we love on our website. Look for recipes that ask for honey or maple syrup instead. Remember, this is a slow process, so just start with leaving out a quarter of the amount if sugar from one of your favorite recipes first.
Other recipes that are not baked goods sometimes call for sugar as well. I used to add brown sugar to my chili, but now I add a little dark chocolate or molasses instead. Try adding a natural form of sugar (honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) instead.
Check and Compare Ingredients
Get in the habit of looking at the ingredients and comparing different brands. Keep in mind that sugar can go by different names, such as fructose, glucose, glucose solids, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, dextrose, and many more. Once you know the different names that sugar is labeled under, you will be surprised to find out how much sugar is in so much of the prepared foods we buy. Start comparing and choosing the brands that offer less sugar. The less prepared foods you buy, the easier it will be to control your sugar intake.
Many people rely on sugar-free labels to assist them in finding healthier foods, but are these options really better for you? These sugar-free foods use artificial sweeteners that come with a lot of controversy. There has been a lot of research and reports on the possible side effects of different artificial sweeteners. Some say that there is a long history of mild to extreme side effects including cancer. Yet, others say these claims aren’t proven. Regardless of the possible side effects, I think we can all agree that eating natural foods using raw ingredients is the best option.