How to Cut Sugar from Your Meals Without Diet Foods and Drinks

One of the most effective ways to eat more healthily is to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet.

Diets with fewer sources of added sugars are associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer in adults, explained Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian, and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. newsweek,

High intake of added sugars has also been linked to dental cavities in both children and adults, as well as increased risk of obesity—sweet foods are often high in calories and fat.

“Reducing added sugars helps with sustainable energy, healthier skin and better general health,” Derocha said.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sugar to no more than 10 percent of your total daily caloric intake. This works out to 200 calories per day for a person who consumes 2,000 calories daily.

Unfortunately, research shows that most Americans consume more added sugar than the recommended daily intake.

Here’s how you can cut down on sugar without resorting to products marketed as healthier “diet” options—i.e. any food or drink whose recipe is designed to reduce fat, carbohydrates, and/or sugar. has been changed.

high sugar foods

According to Derocha, the main and most obvious products that contain high amounts of added sugar include:

  • candy
  • sweet foods, such as cakes, cookies, pies and cobblers
  • sweet cereal
  • Sweet Rolls, Pastries, and Donuts
  • Dairy desserts, such as ice cream and frozen yogurt
  • sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and juice drinks

Cutting down on such foods and beverages can have a significant impact on your sugar intake.

Isling Piggott, a registered dietitian in the UK and a member of the British Dietetic Association, told newsweek: “Working as a dietitian I try to avoid overly restrictive language but there are foods and drinks that we should be consuming more or less amounts.”

‘Hidden’ Chinese Foods

In addition to the above products, there are other perhaps more surprising culprits that may also contain relatively high levels of added sugar. According to Derocha, these products include:

  • Whole Grain Cereals and Granola
  • instant porridge
  • frozen foods
  • Granola Bar, Protein Bar and Cereal Bar
  • pasta sauce
  • Dried fruits, canned fruits, apple sauce and fruit juices
  • flavored yogurt
  • baby food
  • barbecue sauce, ketchup, salad dressing and other condiments

The best way to see if a product is high in sugar is to check the label and look for any sugar or syrup that may have been added.

Derocha states that high-sugar products contain more than 22.5 grams (0.8 ounces) of total sugar per 100 grams. Small amounts of sugar products contain 5 grams or less of total sugar per 100 grams.

Food manufacturers are required to list added sugars on food labels. But it is important to note that sugars can be listed by many names, including high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar or cane juice, maltose, dextrose, rice syrup, molasses and caramel.

Registered Dietitian and Director of Dietitians UK Priya Tu says newsweek You don’t necessarily need to avoid high-sugar foods altogether,” but be mindful of how much you’re eating and portion size as well as what you eat during the rest of the day and week. Well, think about it.”

Are Diet Drinks Bad for You?

Often, people who are trying to reduce their sugar intake can opt for “diet” products marketed as healthier alternatives. These products take a variety of forms but are often altered to reduce fat and/or sugar.

“When this happens it often means that it has been processed with other fillers,” Derocha said. “Generally, if something is changed to less sugar, it means that it may have been ultra-processed to include other things to give it a flavor that would be enjoyable with less sugar. Some of them may include additions, sugar alcohols, sugar substitutes, additives, chemical preservatives, fats, salt and more.”

“In general, I recommend limiting your intake of foods and beverages that have been changed to be low in sugar or as a ‘diet’ product due to the potentially over-processed nature and additives and chemicals May be labeled with fillers that can be added.”

In addition, many products marketed as healthy because they are low in fat actually contain high levels of sugar. In these cases, it may be better to stick to full-fat options.

“We eat for taste. So if fat is reduced, sugar is often added, and vice versa,” Pigott said. “I always encourage people to be aware of the harms of products containing artificial sweeteners, which can still be energy-dense, and that some products (for example, chocolate with sweeteners) cause stomach issues. can become.”

“Diet products have their place. But if you don’t enjoy a product, or it doesn’t satisfy you—low-fat products, for example—we can eat twice as much, defeating the purpose.”

In general, Derocha said, try to stick to mostly whole foods that haven’t been processed or refined and that are free of additives and other artificial ingredients, as well as rich in nutrients.

“I recommend that people enjoy a variety of food groups to maintain a healthy, balanced, and low-sugar diet. A variety of food groups include, lean protein, heart healthy fats, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables.” vegetables,” she said.

According to Piggott, eating regular meals with appropriate carbohydrates and proteins can help prevent sugar cravings between meals. A diet low in added sugar but high in protein and fiber can help promote the experience of fullness and reduce foods that lead to snacking on sugary products.

“Increasing fruits, vegetables, and regulating meal patterns is more likely to reduce intake of ‘free sugars’ than simply choosing low-sugar products,” Pigott said. “Free sugar is defined as sugar added to products or found naturally in juices, honey and syrups. We do not need to limit fruits, vegetables and milk products, which would include some [naturally occurring] Sugar.”

“Products high in ‘free sugar’ are often energy-dense but do not contain many vitamins and minerals. By reducing intake of these products we can consume more nutritionally diverse foods and more energy appropriately.”

Derocha said that if you want to enjoy sugary products but still want to manage your sugar intake, you can try making your own versions of certain foods. for example:

  • Instead of instant flavored oatmeal – overnight oats or make your own oatmeal and use fruit to sweeten it with natural sugars
  • Instead of granola bars, protein bars and cereal bars – try making your own energy bites and using dates (natural sugar from fruits) to sweeten them.
  • make your own pasta sauce
  • Make your own meals instead of frozen foods. When cooking, try cooking some meals twice or thrice and freeze them for later.
  • Instead of flavored yogurt—try enjoying plain Greek yogurt and add your favorite fruit for a natural sweetness
  • Try Making Your Own Baby Food, Barbecue Sauce, Ketchup and Salad Dressing

“Try sweet foods like fruit and allow yourself smaller portions of foods you really enjoy,” Tue said.

How can we reduce our sugar intake?

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