Easy Ways To Reduce Your Sugar Intake + Healthier Sweeteners To Use

Easy Ways To Reduce Your Sugar Intake + Healthier Sweeteners To Use

HOW TO AVOID ADDED SUGAR

Improve your everyday health by cutting back on unnecessary sugar

In this post, I’m going to show you some easy ways to reduce your sugar intake everyday (in a non-stressful way), show you which sugars it’s best to avoid, and give you examples of healthier sugars and alternatives. This is actually an extract from my book (page 171), but it’s such an important topic – and so I really wanted to share this with you on the blog today.

Unnecessary sugars are added into so many store-bought foods these days, and if we are not careful these “seemingly harmless” sugars can easily add up – and cause a lot of health related problems!

Added sugar is a major cause of obesity, weight gain and other health problems such as diabetes. That’s why it’s really important for us to read the ingredients list of the foods that we buy everyday, to make sure that they don’t contain these unnecessary sugars.

There are many food items that often contain unnecessary added sugars (even when they don’t really need them!). Try to get into the habit of reading the ingredients list on food products before purchasing them – this simple little habit could change your life and your health for the better.


SMALL CHANGES MAKE THE BIGGEST CHANGE

If having to suddenly “avoid all sugar completely” makes you feel overwhelmed, just try to cut back on one unhealthy food item at a time.

For example: on week one, you could swap out regular sugar in your coffee for xylitol (or you can try drinking it black) and swap out your sweetened almond milk for unsweetened almond milk.

On week two, you can keep up the good habit that you learned in week one (with the coffee), and also swap out the sugar that you use to sweeten your oatmeal for fresh fruit (banana slices, berries, etc.) and a healthier sweetener (if you need one) like xylitol, stevia or 100% pure maple syrup.

Don’t let trying to achieve a “healthier lifestyle” stress you out completely – make small changes one step at a time. Always remember that it’s the small everyday habits that make the most impact on your overall health.


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EASY WAYS TO REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE

My top tips for reducing sugar intake everyday

• Train your taste-buds to enjoy plain coffee and tea without added sugar or syrups.

• Swap regular breakfast cereals or porridges with plain oatmeal (or overnight oats) and sweeten it with fruit. I love to use blueberries, raspberries, apple, pear, banana or even orange slices to sweeten my oatmeal!

• Instead of drinking soda and juices, add some lemon slices to sparkling/ soda or still water. You can also get fancy and experiment by slicing up some orange or grapefruit to throw into the mix, or you can use berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries). Adding a few fresh mint or basil leaves is also delicious.

• Only purchase plain yogurts and dairy products that have not been sweetened. Try sweetening your yogurt naturally with some fresh fruit, it tastes so much better and is way more nutritious!

• Avoid sweetened nut butters and peanut butters, rather purchase brands that are natural and unsweetened.

• Swap those high calorie, sugar loaded salad dressings for a simple combination of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper, fresh herbs and even some vinegar if you like (I love to use unsweetened balsamic vinegar).

• Say no to candy and sweets, and snack on fresh berries and fruit instead – berries and fruit are natures candy!

• Instead of using tomato based sauces (that are often loaded with sugar) to flavor your homemade meals (such as bolognese, curry, soups, stews, etc.), rather chop up some fresh tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes) and onion to use as a flavor base – and then spice up the dish with fresh lemon juice, pure tomato paste, garlic, natural herbs or spices, sea salt and cracked black pepper.


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FOODS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Foods to watch out for (that often contain added sugar)

Sauces
Condiments
Dips
Spreads
Salad dressing
Cereals
Cereal bars
Instant oatmeal/ porridge
Flavored oatmeal/ porridge Fruit juices
Juices
Snack bars / health bars Protein bars
Dried fruits
Bread
Bagels/ rolls
Yoghurt
Milk
Cheese
Nut butters
Granola
Soda
Fizzy drinks
Sports drinks
Energy drinks
Muffins (even health muffins)
Meat/ pasta sauces
Spice mixes/ meat and food flavorings


SUGARS TO AVOID

Various sugar names to watch out for

White sugar
Brown sugar
Molasses
Cane sugar/ cane syrup
Corn syrup
Agave/ agave syrup
Malt sugar/ malt syrup
Syrup/ golden syrup
Fructose
Evaporated cane juice
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Dextrose
Sucrose


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HEALTHIER SUGARS

Healthier sugar and sweetener options

Raw honey
100% Pure maple syrup
Pure coconut sugar
Xylitol
Stevia


THE BEST FRUITS TO SWEETEN

Sweeten oatmeal, smoothies and baked treats naturally with fruit

Fresh or dried dates
Unsweetened raisins
Berries (fresh or frozen)
Apples and unsweetened applesauce
Pears and unsweetened pear sauce
Bananas
Mangoes
Fresh fruit or unsweetened dry fruit


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TAKE NOTE + TAKE CARE

Added sugar is a major cause of obesity, weight gain and other health problems. Always read food labels to make sure that there’s no added sugar in your food!

But, if having to suddenly “avoid all sugar completely” makes you feel overwhelmed, just try to cut back on one unhealthy food item at a time.

For example: on week one, you could swap out regular sugar in your coffee for xylitol (or you can try drinking it black) and swap out your sweetened almond milk for unsweetened almond milk.

On week two, you can keep up the good habit that you learned in week one (with the coffee), and also swap out the sugar that you use to sweeten your oatmeal for fresh fruit (banana slices, berries, etc.) and a healthier sweetener (if you need one) like xylitol, stevia or 100% pure maple syrup.

Don’t let trying to achieve a “healthier lifestyle” stress you out completely – make small changes one step at a time. Always remember that it’s the small everyday habits that make the most impact on your overall health.

At the end of the day, it’s all of the small changes added up that make the biggest change.

Liezl Jayne xo


Photos by Ross Charnock for liezljayne.com – styled by Liezl Jayne

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