How To Reduce Sugar Intake

By Honey Olorunsola

I as an individual, I am a lover of sweet and sugary things and I know that majority of the world is just like me but the truth is that too much of sweet things is injurious to our health. It could lead to obesity, diabetes or even tooth decay. I don’t want any of that and I’m sure you don’t too. So today, I will be sharing tips on how to reduce our sugar intake. To reduce sugar in your diet, an obvious place to start is by limiting your consumption of regular soda, as well as the addition of the spoonful of sugar into your morning cereal. But what if you’re already making strides in reducing the obvious high-sugar items? Chances are you’re still consuming more added sugar than you realize from some everyday foods.

I come from a state in Nigeria where our best meal is pounded yam. Anyone from my state can comfortably eat pounded yam three times a day without feeling weird about it but the truth is that the more carbohydrate we consume, the more sugar. Carbohydrates are large sugar molecules. They are the main source of energy for the body and a lot of people can’t do without consuming it at least once a day.

After consumption, the body breaks it down into glucose, a simple sugar that the body can use to feed the cells, actually, glucose is the common sugar that we all see every day. Cutting down on sugar can lead to weight loss, prevent tooth decay, and reduce blood sugar spikes amongst other things. Reducing sugar consumption can also help break the unhelpful cycle of cravings that high sugar consumption can create. So now you see that it’s not just about reducing the normal sugar intake, there’s a lot than that.

Are you ready for these tips? leggo

Let’s start with our breakfast. Sometimes, I like having cereal for breakfast before the main meal. What’s your breakfast like? Many breakfast cereals are high in sugar. Try switching to lower-sugar cereals or those with no added sugar. Instead of adding sugar to sweeten cereal, top your bowl with your favourite fruit as fruits are natural sweeteners.  Try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots). Many foods that we don’t consider too sweet contain a surprisingly large amount of sugar. Some ready-made soups, stir-in sauces and ready meals can also be higher in sugar than we think. When eating out or buying takeaways, watch out for dishes that are typically high in sugar, such as sweet and sour dishes, sweet chilli dishes and some curry sauces, as well as salads with dressings like salad cream, which can also be high in sugar. Sauces such as ketchup can have as much as 23g of sugar in 100g, roughly half a teaspoon per serving. These foods are usually served in small quantities, but the sugar count can add up if eaten every day. Also, when buying food, compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of added sugars.

So, I saw something last year that really amazed me, some people in this part of the world add sugar to boil yam…wow! Yam alone has a large quantity of sugar, now adding sugar again, that’s not quite healthy. Truth is, I tried it for the first time and I quite enjoyed it, I was getting used to it at some point but I had to fight it most times until I was able to break out of it. Now, I boil my yam with water and a pinch of salt. If you usually add sugar to your porridge, try replacing with a few sliced or mashed banana instead.

There’s a popular saying that water, e no get enemy. For me, water is life and nothing can ever replace water, ever! People get dehydrated and sometimes extremely tired and when they want to refuel, they go for a soda. Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes, and cordials. A 500ml bottle of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar.

If you take sugar in tea or coffee, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether, or try swapping to sweeteners instead. Try some new flavours with herbal teas, or make your own with hot water and a slice of lemon or ginger. This year, I decided to replace soda with smoothie. Whenever you feel like having a drink, just go for smoothie. Fruit smoothie is a combination of fruits, blended together and if you want, you can refrigerate. You can try your own fruit combinations though but here is mine; apple, banana, watermelon and pineapple. Blend all together, no additives, no sugar and no preservatives. It is healthy and nutritious. Don’t thank me, you are welcome (LOL).

For lovers of snacks or cookies, when baking, try to reduce your sugar by half its initial measurement until you are able to wean it out completely. You can actually replace sugar with extracts like orange, lemon or even vanilla. You can also use spices like ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg. Over time, you will get used to it and not even notice that there’s no sugar at all in what you’re having. You can also replace cookies and snacks with fruits, lots of fruits. Each time you crave for cookies or high sugar level snacks, go for fruits instead. I know it’s hard being in a supermarket where there are lots of cookies and you have to buy just fruits, but you just have to do it. If you’re stuck between choosing two desserts at the supermarket, why not compare the labels on both packages and go for the one with the lower amount of sugar.

Always plan your food ahead of time. This will increase your chances of not buying processed foods loaded with hidden sugar. Unprocessed foods tend to contain less sugar or even no sugar at all. Try cooking a large batch of something at the beginning of the week, you can then serve it with different sides to mix things up. You’ll also find this is a much cheaper way to eat healthily.

Lastly, sleep more. It may seem obvious that when we feel tired, we tend to crave for energy in a new form; food. Evidence also suggests that sleep restriction influences our tastes for certain foods. In exploring the link between sleep and diet in teenagers, sleep restriction led to increased intake of food and in particular sweet foods and desserts. Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual to prevent feeling tired and leaning towards unnecessary sweet treats. I believe with these few points of mine, I have convinced you beyond all reasonable doubts that you need to reduce your sugar intake.

Images : Google

Source: Above Whispers

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