10 ways to lower your sugar consumption

FINALLY sugar is making the news in some really beneficial and specific ways:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204660604574370851517144132.html

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090824/hl_nm/us_heart_sugar_4

(I especially like the line in article #2 that indicates the position of the beverage industry is that their products don’t directly contribute to health problems…geee, what else would a representative from THAT industry say…)

FYI: IF you have a curiousity about the sugar content of the food you eat, check out this USDA sugar index:

http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/sugar-content.php

I think a lot about sugar and it’s role in our lifes (obviously, hence this blog!).  The information about sugar is good, but the next questions is:

Okay, so HOW are we going to change things ?  It’s the HOW questions about changing our diet, cultural food norms, and keeping our commitments to health that really intrigue me.

So, here are my top 10  tips on HOW to reduce your sugar intake:

  • Get help – whether help is a book, a friend, corralling the family for a family meeting about the weekly grocery shopping, or a wellness coach/dietician, chance are strong that the way you eat is a deeply ingrained pattern and you’ll need a toolbox of support to change it.
  • Begin where you are: start by counting the sugar grams you eat per day for a few days.  Do this without judgement.  This is INFORMATION GATHERING to help you become AWARE.  From this, you can see where you are and make a plan for where you want to be.  That is where the support and the other tips come in!
  • Start with the easy ‘wins’, such as reducing your sugary beverage intake by 1 per day,  alternating eggs and cereals for breakfast instead of always cereal, increasing your veggies by 1 serving/day, switching to high fiber breads, choosing the cake donut over the frosted donut, etc.  Seriously, these little changes can be HUGE for motivating success and confidence that you CAN change your relationship with sugar
  • Eat more bitter/pungent foods.  Many of us are super-sensitized to the flavor of sweet and want it all the time.  Condition your palate to seek other flavors, such as bitter/pungent.  Eat dark green veggies, use strong cheeses on a salad (you also need less), season with herbs like basil and rosemary which have a bitter principle, eat blackberries, cranberries and green apples – all have bitter principles, use aromatic spices such as turmeric and cumin (pungent)
  • Carry a sustainable water bottle and USE it! First, you’re flushing the junk out of your body with regular water intake, and you might find that it relaces some of the other non-beverage waters
  • Watch for the tricky sugars: Milk/milk proucts, organic and gluten-free products, trail mixes, boxed oatmeal, hamburger/hotdog buns, low fat cookies and treats, dried fruits (usually sweetened with some kind of sugar, including High Fructose Corn Syrup) – all contain sugars in ways you might be aware of because they are not necessarily classic desserts
  • Reduce the ‘pumps’ of syrup you use at the coffee bar.  Recently I heard a friend share that her fav 16 oz Vanilla latte included 6 PUMPS of syrup – that is 3 servings of syrup (aka a LOT ) of sugar – ask the barista how much they give and if it is more than a serving, you can tell them not to pump so much!
  • Eat protein regularly – lean meats, eggs, legumes, quinoa, protein supplemenets (with no added sugar – watch out!), organic dairy products (as appropriate) and (sparingly) soy products all contain protein.  Protein helps stabalize blood sugar and animal-based proteins + quinoa also contain B vitamins.  Over consumption of sugar depletes B vitamins, so you might need to regenerate your B vitamin levels if you are a sugar junkie
  • Moderate your use of natural sugars.  Many of you know I advocate for use of agave, honey, brown rice syrup, etc.  True, they are better, but they are still SUGAR!!!  Eat them in moderation too.
  • Try greek yogurt – it contains virtually NO sugar.  It also makes a nice dessert, when mixed with fruits and cinnamon, or on top of whole grain pancakes in place of syrup

Happy Low-sugar eating, bloggies!

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