Eating too much sugar over time has been linked to excess weight, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers – and let’s not forget cavities.
If you are looking to reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet, it’s inadvisable to go cold turkey. Instead, pay close attention to what you are currently eating. Are there any hidden sugars which you could easily get rid of? Remember that sugar takes many forms, such as syrups, honey, and agave.
For example, so-called savory sauces, such as ready-made pasta sauce, often contain sugar. You can quickly and easily make your own from olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato, and herbs.
Added sugar refers to any which has been added by whoever made the food, be it the manufacturer or yourself. The natural sugars in plain milk, yogurt, fruit and vegetables are not considered as added sugars and come naturally housed with nutrients and fiber.
Here are 5 dietary swaps you can make that will help you cut back your sugar intake:
1. Mashed Banana
Bananas contain a wealth of nutrients while also delivering a nice hit of sweetness. Combine mashed bananas with a dash of cinnamon to use instead of sugar-filled jam on your toast. Freeze pureed bananas in popsicle molds as an alternative to ice-cream.
Make your own applesauce by peeling and coring 900g of apples. Put them in a saucepan with two teaspoons of lemon juice and two tablespoons of water. On a low heat cook them until very soft, about 15 minutes. One cup of applesauce contains about 100 calories, while the same volume of sugar has over 700 calories.
You can use the applesauce in many baking recipes in a 1:1 ratio, but you’ll also need to lessen the amount of liquid used in the recipe. Typically, you can use quarter of a cup less liquid, which could save on a lot of calories from fat, too.
People in South America have been using Stevia as a sweetener, a plant native to Paraguay, for many years. Stevia is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but almost calorie-free. Unlike many other sweeteners, it is not a chemical cocktail and was deemed safe for human consumption by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
It is available in liquid or powdered form. Read the label to see how much you need in exchange for sugar. If you can’t give up the taste of sweet tea or coffee, Stevia is a great solution.
4. Full-fat, Natural ProductsWhen the low-fat craze was at it’s all time high,
manufacturers removed fat from food, but often
replaced it with other things so that it still tasted
good. Look carefully at the ingredient lists of
low-fat yogurts and low-fat nut butters. The
chances are there are things that you’ve never heard of. Make your own fruit yogurt by
simply blending chopped fruit with natural yogurt. You’ll get far more taste without
additives or sugar.
5. Cacao Nibs Instead of Chocolate
Cacao nibs are roasted slices of cocoa beans. Consider them chocolate in its purest form. A handful of nibs can curb a craving, while delivering antioxidants, magnesium, fiber and iron.
With a little creativity, it’s possible to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and enjoy eating more real, unprocessed food. Make a plan to see which sugary foods you can substitute and enjoy healthy changes for you and your family.
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