It seems like every time we turn around there’s another excuse to celebrate. And with every social event, there’s one party guest you can always count on – SUGAR! This summer has been particularly packed for me, with showers, weddings and family gatherings every weekend. Just last weekend, my family put on a camp for all my nieces and nephews. It was an absolute blast, but there was tons of junk food. It’s hard not to serve a lot of sugar and starchy carbs when you’re feeding that many people! Last night we celebrated my husband’s birthday with a party, so there was yet another reason for cake. The sugar never stops!
While I’m really thankful to have such an awesome community of friends and family around me, I’m glad the summer is drawing to a close and there won’t be so much sugar around. But wait, the holidays and all the parties and festivities that come with them will be here before we know it! It’s always something! Anyway, this post is all about sugar, and I’m writing it not only for you, but also as a reminder for me to clean up my act!
- Don’t add it to foods. This is the easiest and most basic way to immediately reduce the amount of sugar you are eating. Biggest targets: cereal, coffee and tea.
- Don’t be fooled by “healthy sugar” disguises. Brown sugar, turbinado, raw sugar… it’s all pretty much the same thing far as your body is concerned.
- Make a real effort to eliminate or reduce processed carbohydrates. Most processed carbs—breads, bagels, and most pastas and snacks—are loaded with flour and other ingredients that convert to sugar in the body almost as fast as pure glucose. The sugar gets stored as triglycerides, which is a fancy way of saying fat!
- Watch out for fat-free snacks, as they are usually loaded with sugar.
- Shop for color. The more your grocery basket looks like a cornucopia of color, the better. It usually means you are getting more fresh vegetables and low-glycemic fruits such as berries and cherries.
- Become a food detective. You can’t reduce sugar if you don’t know where it is, so start reading labels.
- Beware of artificial sweeteners (Nutri-sweet, aspartame, Splenda, etc.). Unfortunately, they can increase cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. They can deplete the bodies’ stores of chromium, a nutrient crucial for blood-sugar metabolism.
- Do the math. Look at the label where it says “total sugars” and divide the number of grams by four. That is the number of teaspoons of sugar you are ingesting.
- Limit high-glycemic fruit. Fruit has sugar, but it also has fiber and good nutrients. Just don’t overdo it. Eat two servings a day and try to make most of them low-glycemic.
- Eliminate packaged fruit juices. They are a pure sugar hit with none of the fiber and fewer of the nutrients found in the fruit itself.