It’s no secret that the United States population has a sugar problem. Did you know the U.S. ranks #1 in the world for the highest average daily sugar consumption per person? According to heart.org, American adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar daily. That is equivalent to around 60 pounds of added sugar each year! The numbers are even worse for kids. It’s also well-known that overconsumption of sugar is a leading contributor to obesity. In 2018, the projected cost for treating obesity-related illnesses was 21% of the total health care expenditure of $344 billion. No wonder our nation’s health is in such dire condition.
The consumption of harmful sugars can be detrimental to our overall health. Excess sugar consumption has been linked to higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and even cancer. So having established that sugar is not good for us, what are some easy ways we can reduce the amount of sugar we consume?
- Drink wisely – So many of the beverages we consume contain a ridiculous amount of sugar. Instead of soda, drink sparkling water. Use organic, whole plant stevia to sweeten your coffee instead of sugar. If you must drink alcohol, swap your wine for prosecco or mix your liquor with water instead of your usual sugar-filled mixer.
- Read your labels – It is shocking to see all the places sugar is hidden in our packaged foods. Be sure to read the labels carefully and try to avoid those hidden sugars. Some brands of condiments and salad dressings that I like are Tessamae’s and Primal Kitchen. Better yet, make your own. Sugar is also found many times in things like marinara sauce. Again read your labels and avoid products with ingredients that end in -ose.
- Think protein/fat/fiber – Focusing on the protein/fat/fiber trifecta at every meal will help better stabilize your blood sugar. This also helps you feel more satiated and will reduce the sugar spikes & crashes you can feel when you eat a sugar-laden or carb-heavy meal. If you want to eat an apple, add nut butter to it. Grab some grass-fed beef jerky instead of a candy bar.
- Use sugar alternatives when baking – There are so many great, readily available sugar substitutes out there now that won’t cause the hits to your insulin that you get when using white sugar. Try coconut sugar or monk fruit sweetener.
- Eat whole foods – Stay away from processed, packaged foods as much as possible. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store to avoid products full of sugar. Consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables gives your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to promote health.
Giving up sugar can be a real challenge. It’s highly addictive, and our bodies have been trained to just crave more and more of it. Start off by choosing one or two of these ideas and make them become a habit. Then add in another. Before you know it, you’ll have greatly reduced your sugar intake, and you’ll be feeling so much better. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I can tell you that it will be worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Write in the comments what your biggest challenge with giving up sugar is or what your favorite swap is. Looking for more guidance and accountability? Contact me for a FREE 30-minute New Client Introductory Call, and we can devise a customized plan to beat your sugar addiction.