Have you ever wondered if sugar is the worst thing for your diet? It’s not! If you can eat sugar and lose weight or gain muscle? You can! Should you reduce your sugar intake? It won’t hurt you!
The goal of this post is not to make you completely eliminate it but instead to help you reduce your sugar intake.
My issue with sugar isn’t so much the sugar itself, it’s what it does to you (or at least me). If I’m eating high sugar all the time I tend to crave it and those foods that I crave just aren’t the right foods for my body to reach the goals that I have.
The more sugar I eat, the more bad foods I crave. It’s a never ending cycle and it’s the only “drug” that I’ve ever been addicted to. I know I’m not alone there.
I don’t have a cure for this sugar addiction unless maybe I lose my sweet tooth but I’m not sure which tooth that is and well, I like my teeth.
Here are 10 ways that have helped me limit and reduce my sugar intake over the years and will hopefully help you reduce your sugar intake.
Reduce Your Sugar
Cinnamon, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract are 3 ingredients that can add a sugary feel to whatever you’re eating or drinking without all the sugar. Mix and match and you’ll have endless options.
A cup of cottage cheese, couple tablespoons of some cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons of a nut butter is an easy staple craving killer for me!
Unsweetened over sweetened. This goes for canned items, milk substitutes like almond milk, cocoa powder like we just mentioned, and much more.
Sweeten it yourself and save yourself that usually unnecessary added sugar intake.
Dried fruit is delicious but can also pack more sugar than it should. Why is that you might ask? Well, some companies decide to add more sugar to it.
Keep an eye on your labels and cross-check with a calorie app if you need to.
Not all protein bars are created equal. You’ve got more than a handful of options when it comes to protein bars nowadays so this shouldn’t be a huge problem but most of the cheaper alternatives are just candy bars with some added protein.
Watch your labels and don’t be afraid to try the lower sugar alternatives!
Go natural! Make sure the “natural” stuff you’re buying doesn’t have any added sugar in it. For nut butters, you should usually just have 2 ingredients (the nuts and some salt).
Substitutes For Sugar
Use less sugar in recipes. If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar try using 1/4 cup and if that’s fine then use even less next time. The difference between 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup is 50 grams of sugar!
You’ll be surprised to find out that the difference in taste is usually pretty minimal.
If you’re making a protein powder dessert and your powder is already pretty sweet, you probably don’t need much sugar or sweetener (if any at all). This is also a great way to change up the flavor of your recipe! Chocolate, birthday cake, vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon bun…you get the idea.
Use fruit to sweeten your recipes. Outside of being delicious, fruit is also full of fiber and most of us could use more of that!
As long as the fruit compliments the recipe you’re making, you should be good to go.
One of my favorite ways to sweeten up a recipe is with a mashed up banana!
Spice up your seltzer. If you’re someone trying to kick soda or just need something more than water and seltzer doesn’t do it for you, try adding some flavors to it. A squirt of lemon, lime, or even one of those flavor bottles.
While we’re on this one, what do you call it and where are you from? Pop, soda, or something else? Let me know below in the comments!
Use sugar free or lower sugar sauces and dressings. If you’re not careful here you can up your sugar intake drastically by things like pasta sauce, ketchup, or honey mustard.
Keep your eye on the labels for these, make sure the serving sizes are adequate, and understand how big a serving size is. I know for awhile I was eating way more ketchup than I should have been and ketchup is packed with sugar (4 grams per serving).
If you can’t find lower sugar alternatives for these, you could also make your own. Homemade sauces or dressings are fun to make and super easy!
I think the biggest struggle with “getting off sugar” is having the mindset that you need to give it up completely. Sure, you might end up never eating sugar again but starting there is tough for most of us.
I love sweets (obviously), so that’s not in the books for me. What I’ve done and have always hoped to help you do is to find alternatives for things that you crave. Make it a marathon and not a sprint to reduce your sugar intake!