6 Diet Tips To Avoid Excess Sugar
March 9, 2016
Tips & Tricks
Good nutrition fuels the body with power rather than simply filling it. Unfortunately, today’s diets abound with sugar-laden options that can sabotage your fitness goals. In order to avoid excess sugar, your diet plan will require a little strategy and preparation:
- Practice clean eating. The goal of clean eating is to consume natural or whole foods without drowning them in heavy sauces, dressings, doughs or other processed goods. Clean eaters balance meal and snack selections, sticking to fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats while avoiding sweeteners, preservatives, additives, chemicals and other artificial processing. The idea is to keep food as close to its natural state as possible.
- Prepare your own meals from scratch. The cook or chef decides how much sugar, salt, seasonings and other ingredients each serving contains. Not every dish has to be sugar-free, but fresh, quality ingredients often allow a cook to reduce sugar quantities without waistlines or taste being affected. Sound options are halving the sugar in baked goods, for example, or squeezing your own orange juice.
- Tune into natural sugars. Fruits are the sweetest of the produce group, but many vegetables have tasty sweetness that caramelizes during a slow roast in the oven. Plain dairy, for example, also contains naturally occurring milk sugars known as lactose. All of these are natural sugars that the body metabolizes more slowly than refined sugars. In addition, these food sources contribute an abundance of nutrients that our bodies need and that refined sugars lack.
- Read labels on ready-made foods. Food manufacturers are currently required to list the sugar content per serving. American Heart Association guidelines recommend limiting daily sugar intake to less than six teaspoons for women, nine for men and three for small children. For comparison, one level teaspoon of sugar equates to 4 grams and 16 calories. One cup of cereal or flavored oatmeal can easily contain three or four teaspoons.
- Recognize sugar by other names. A food label can advertise “no high-fructose corn syrup” and still be full of sugar. Sugar has more than 60 names used in food labeling. If an ingredient ends in -ose—like glucose, fructose, dextrose or galactose—it most likely is some form of sugar. However, food labels may also list sugars as types of nectar, malt, syrup, juice, crystals or solids. When in doubt, check for grams of sugar under the carbohydrates listing.
- Keep condiments on the side to use sparingly. Dressings, sauces, jellies and other preparations add flavor, but sugar is a primary ingredient for most. If a version is low-fat or fat-free, sugar content is often increased to compensate. Since their serving sizes are often overlooked, condiments can undo a lot of hard dieting work. One serving of salad dressing is just two tablespoons yet can easily contain more than two teaspoons of sugar. One tablespoon of stir-fry sauce—half the quantity—also contains two teaspoons.
Eliminating Sugar To Lose Weight
Life without sugar can still be sweet. With awareness, patience and practice, you can eliminate a significant portion of the sugar and empty calories you consume. If you would like to learn more about clean eating or how to increase your diet’s nutritional value, reach out to the Acadiana Weight Loss Surgery team. Visit our website, or call us at 337-233-9900.