Just why should you be looking at your sugar intake and could it be the reason you're not losing weight?
Trainers have long been advising clients to avoid consuming too much sugar in their diet when trying to drop the pounds. The science suggests that if you can eliminate sugars from your diet then your body can burn more fat for energy, less stress would also be put on your pancreas as blood glucose levels are kept to a minimum and you'll experience less highs and lows in your mood.
More specifically you'll lose more weight.
It was only recently that our government decided to inform the public to reduce their sugar intake and that it wasn't in fact all to do with fat that caused the obesity crisis we are witnessing in the western world.
It's now well known that we should avoid sugars but it's still new and most of us still don't really know how to reduce it in our diet. There are so many so called healthy food products on the market that are still packed full of sugars. A lot of sugar is hidden. Sometimes it's just too hard to avoid them. You still should avoid them by the way. The amount of time I spend looking at food labels can be unreal sometimes.
If you didn't already know, sugar is highly addictive so this isn't going to be easy. Do know that by reducing it you are helping your body.
We know how frustrating it can be so with this in mind we've come up with six tips to show you how to reduce your sugar intake and help you on your way to being sugar free.
- Related - How To Finally Quit Sugar
1. Cut all highly refined foods from your diet
Sounds simple but these foods tend to have added sugars in so it's best just to avoid them and go all out whole food crazy and join the clean eating bandwagon. Try to stay within four ingredients when buying made products.
2. Read food labels
Like I said, sugars are often hidden in a lot of different food products so check the ingredients. Generally speaking you want to choose foods with about four or less ingredients in and make sure sugar isn't one of them!
Sugar has many names so beware of; glucose, fructose and anything with syrup, starch, corn or maize in.
3. Be careful of marketing tactics
A client came to me with a yoghurt that she asked if she was allowed. It was zero fat with pretty healthy looking packaging, you know the ones, I checked out the ingredients and macros. 70% of the calories were from sugar and this was a yoghurt advertised with the words "light" on it.
Generally most things that have the words describing it as a diet product will be misleading in some way so just check the food label including the macros.
Be especially aware of products advertised with the word "protein" on. There doesn't seem to be a rule that the protein needs to be the highest macro nutrient. Often the protein macro will have the lowest amount in gram weight then fat or sugar yet they still call it a protein product.
4. Don't drink sugar
This goes without saying, don't drink your calories especially if those calories are from sugar unless you really need to when trying to lose weight.
Cut out fruit juices and any drink that has sugar as an ingredient or on the macronutrients.
Stick to water, this is an easy one.
5. Swap high sugar fruits for berries
Try to only get your sugar from fruit, but know some fruits are higher in sugar then others.
Generally berries are lower in sugar as are kiwis, watermelon and lemons.
Fruits to avoid or limit are bananas, figs, mango and grapes.
6. Check the food cupboard
Many household food cupboard items are high in added sugar, go ahead and look for yourself. Ketchup, some peanut butters, salad dressing, bread, crackers, pasta sauce and most cereals.
Follow these six steps and you'll be well on your way to eliminating refined sugar from your diet. If you are starting fresh give yourself targets unless you work well going all out. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to get the hang of it and the cravings reduce from then onwards it's about managing the cravings with fruit if you do have them. If you eat a balanced diet you should be okay.
Want more help reducing your sugar intake?
Our 7 day clean eating diet plan would be great place to start as it''s naturally low in sugar. Each meal comes with a link to a full recipes making it easy to follow. Incorporate the 6 steps listed here and you'll fast be watching the number on the scales drop.