Easy ways to cut sugar from your diet
Cutting sugar out of your diet can be difficult, but it’s worth it, says Tara Allen, a registered dietitian on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.
“Sugar is bad for your heart, your waistline and your teeth,” says Allen. “Changing diet habits can be difficult, but if you do it slowly and thoughtfully, you will be successful.”
Allen offers three easy ways to cut sugar from your diet:
1. Drink more water. Sugary drinks are everywhere. If you’re thirsty, walk past the soda machine and stop at the water fountain instead. Not only will you cut down on your sugar intake, but you’ll likely lose weight, too.
“Water helps people feel full and satiated, without any negative side effects,” Allen says. “Staying properly hydrated can also help cut down on cravings.”
2. Ease into it. For some people, going cold turkey might work, but for others, transitioning into a new, sugar-free diet is easiest and can help decrease withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and irritability.
“Pick one meal or bad habit, and go after it first,” says Allen. “If you normally put sugar in your coffee, stop. After a few days, cut out something else. Habits are difficult to break, but having a solid plan can help with long-term success.”
3. Make healthy substitutions. Refined white sugar is the least healthy choice, but artificial substitutes like saccharin and aspartame aren’t ideal, either.
“If you want to eat healthier, sugars in their natural form are your best choice,” says Allen. “If you’re craving sweets, try picking up a whole food like an apple instead. Fruit offers healthy nutrients and fiber alongside the sugar, so it’s not just empty calories.”
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