If you want to lose weight, follow these easy tips to cut sugar out of your diet.Sugar (especially the added variety) is one of the worst things you can consume if you're trying to lose weight. On top of that, it's bad for your heart. That's why controlling your sugar intake is so important, particularly when so many packaged goods, even those claiming to be healthy products, often include added sugar under different names.
A few other names for added sugar:
- corn syrup
- malt syrup
- any kind of nectar (like agave nectar)
- cane sugar
Sugar. Is. Everywhere. And it's associated not only with heart disease but with obesity, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and even stress.
To live a healthy and happy lifestyle, you need to curb your sugar intake. Here are 7 easy and actionable steps you can take to cut sugar out of your life, starting today.
1. Start with the obvious foods
Everybody knows by now that certain foods are health-busting sugar bombs. So if you're going to eliminate sugar from your diet, start with the usual suspects. Donuts, dessert cakes, hard candy, soft candy, and cookies. You know that these are the worst offenders for sugar content, and no matter how appetizing they appear you should 100% cut them from your diet.
2. Then cut the obvious beverages
Just like the cheesecake you're thinking about ordering once the main course is finished, you know just as well that washing it all down with a soda is going to sabotage your health and wellness goals. So while you're taking inventory of your menu preferences (or better yet, your fridge) be sure to eliminate carbonated beverages from your diet as well. Did you know that there are 39g of added sugar in a 12oz can of Coca-Cola? That's almost ten teaspoons.
3. And the less-obvious foods
This is where reading the label becomes important. Many foods available at the grocery store seem healthy enough, but upon closer inspection they can be loaded with added sugar. Spaghetti sauce, for example, is often packed with added sugars that can be holding you back from living a healthy lifestyle. BBQ sauce is another serious offender. Be extra vigilant while you're shopping the condiment aisle, and check the ingredients on any ready-made product you consider buying. The easiest workaround? Make your own sauces and other foods from scratch.
4. And the even less-obvious beverages
How on earth can orange juice not be good for you? Fruits have a naturally-occurring sugar in them called fructose which is the healthier of the three main forms of sugar (the other two being glucose and sucrose). In reasonable quantities, fructose isn't detrimental to your health. But the problem is that heavily processed juices that you're likely to find at the grocery store have unhealthy amounts of added sugar. So, again, check the label carefully, and look out for misleading ingredients that might be masquerading as sugar.
5. Go fresh instead
As we already mentioned, fruits contain naturally-occurring sugars that are safe to consume in reasonable quantities. So start mixing more fresh fruits into your diet. When you'd normally reach for sugar or syrup to add a dash of sweet flavor to your cereal or oatmeal, opt for blueberries, raspberries, or dried bananas instead.
6. Opt for (healthy) full fats
Maybe you were taught that low-fat options were always the healthiest, but often food companies add more sugar to these options to make the flavor more palatable. That's why, if you compare the labels, a low-fat yogurt will usually have more sugar (and more calories) than the full-fat variety. So instead of filling your cart with artificially-sweetened, low-fat options of foods you love, reach for the full-fat options instead. It might seem counter-intuitive, but they're more beneficial for weight loss.
7. Eat more whole, unprocessed foods
If you've noticed one trend throughout this article, it's that most of the "bad" sugars that might be having negative effects on your health come from heavily processed foods with added sugars. The easiest way to avoid them altogether? Rely on more whole, unprocessed foods. The more fresh groceries you fill your cart with, the less likely you are to have added sugars sneak their way into your kitchen. Bonus? You'll probably sharpen up your culinary skills along the way!
Before you go making changes to your diet, make sure you fully understood how they're affecting your body. By using the FitTrack Dara smart scale, you can learn how even the slightest changes to your diet affect your body composition. Monitor one of 17 key health indicators like body fat % to see how any of the seven tips we shared today affect your health!