21 WAYS TO SAVE YOURSELF FROM SUGAR
SUGAR is everywhere! One of the keys to sustained weight loss and living a healthy life is knowing and reducing the amount of sugar you ingest. And I’m not just speaking about table sugar. Take a look at these 21 ways to save yourself from sugar.
- Beware of fat-free foods
Those new creations that seem as if they’d be so helpful to us but are actually contributing to America’s increasing weight and health problems. “Fat-free” may be in bold letters on the label, but what the manufactures don’t tell you is that the products are sugar rich, sometimes containing two or more times the sugar found in the regular version of the product that naturally contains a little fat. High amounts of sugar not balanced with protein and fat cause the pancreas to release insulin, the body’s main fat-storage hormone. Fat-free products may sound good on paper, but in the ultimate irony, fat-free products are helping to make Americans
- The more natural the food, the better
It’s well established now that the more processed a food is, the more it will tend to raise your blood sugar. Since balanced blood sugar levels are the goal, opt for foods as close to their natural state as possible. Choose an orange in place of orange juice, an apple over applesauce, and brown rice instead of white rice.
- Eat for taste and good nutrition
Not just taste alone. Your tastes can change after all, but your fundamental nutrient requirements have to be met each and every day. It’s far better to have your taste buds rebel for a short while than to have your body break down from nutrient deficiencies. Keep this in mind when you’re asked to change long-standing habits for new, healthier, sugar-reducing ways of eating.
- Try an elimination diet, cutting out sugar in all forms
(even natural sweeteners such as fruit and fruit juices) for two weeks. This is important as a gauge to help you determine your relationship with sugar. During the two-week period, stick to just poultry, fish, lean meat, whole-grain products, legumes, nuts, and lots of vegetables, and take note of how you feel.
- If you can’t complete the elimination diet
Don’t feel bad. Most Americans have an unhealthy relationship with sugar because they have overindulged in it for so long. Pay special attention if you notice any of the following scenarios:
- If you experience withdrawal symptoms
Such as headaches, moodiness, depression, irritability, and fatigue, you most certainly are addicted to sugar just as others are addicted to coffee or alcohol. Like alcoholics, who need to avoid alcohol, you also need to eliminate all forms of sugar in your diet, at least until your body chemistry improves.
- If you can’t go long without eating sugary foods
You probably have a physical dependence on sugar to give you quick energy your body is lacking. Switch to eating five or six small, protein-rich meals a day. This will better balance your blood sugar and give you more long-term energy so you’re less apt to grab for the sweets.
- If eating sugar seems to make all your symptoms go away magically for a short while
Beware! This is often another sign of sugar addiction. Cut out sugars altogether and reduce the amount of other carbohydrates you eat until your body becomes better balanced.
- If you lose unwanted weight while eliminating sugar
Congratulations! You will experience firsthand what most people don’t realize: Avoiding sugar is the easiest, safest, and most permanent way to stay slim. It’s a plain and simple fact that too much sugar makes you fat.
- If you crave sugar or even complex carbohydrates
That’s almost always a sign that you’re not getting enough protein. Emphasize lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and properly combined complementary vegetable proteins—and your sugar cravings are likely to diminish.
- If you are a vegetarian
You might wan to consider having your amino acid levels tested. Plasma and urine tests reveal that vegetarians are often deficient in the amino acids lysine, methionine, tryptophan, carnitine, and taurine. Without sufficient amounts of these amino acids, vegetarians can develop numerous problems, not the least of which are blood-sugar imbalances and sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
- When you’re under tremendous stress
The desire for sweets can be intense. It’s worth it to hold your desire at bay though. Coping with stress—and maintaining a calm mind and balanced emotions—surprisingly becomes much, much easier when you eat well-balanced, nutritious meals and avoid quick fixes like alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
- If and when you do eat sugar
Make sure it’s with a well-balanced meal or snack. Eating sugar on an empty stomach can cause an initial high followed by a troublesome sugar low. Once your body experiences the sugar low, it will demand more sugar and this up-and-down sugar cycle will continue.
- Develop a fear of commercial desserts
Which not only are sweetened with entirely too much sugar, but also commonly contain white flour, questionable preservatives, and harmful trans-fats (in the form of margarine, shortening, rancid oils, and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils).
- Coriander, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom
Are all spices that make a dish taste sweeter and help satisfy your sweet tooth without adding any sugar.
- Natural vanilla extract and cinnamon are classics
When it comes to upping your perceived level of sweetness, If you don’t believe that, try this taste test, passed on to me by cookbook author and health spa menu consultant Jeanne Jones: Pour a cup of milk and add one teaspoon of vanilla extract and one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix thoroughly and ask someone to tell you what you put in it. The answer will almost always be “sugar.” Use this common perception to increase your enjoyment of everything from cereal and milk to sugar-free sweet treats.
- Cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves
Might soon be just what the doctor orders to help regulate blood-sugar levels. Test-tube studies conducted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Vitamin and Mineral Laboratory have shown that these spices triple insulin’s ability to metabolize sugar and remove it from the blood. To give your body extra help maintaining blood sugar balance, add these spices to foods and drinks whenever possible.
- Learn the art of infusion
Add a gourmet flair to everyday oil. Simply soak fresh herbs in a bottle of expressed oil and season salads or vegetables without any sugar.
Is a natural sweetener because it is made by bees, but it is sweeter, has more calories, and raises the blood sugar even more than white sugar. However, truly natural honey has some reported medicinal benefits and contains enzymes and small amounts of minerals, so it does not upset the body’s mineral balance as much as refined sugar. In addition, baked goods made with honey have the added benefit of remaining fresher longer than those made with other sweeteners.
- Be careful to buy 100 percent pure maple syrup and honey
If you grab the wrong stuff because it’s priced below all the others or because you’re in a hurry, you could be buying a mixture of mostly corn syrup instead.
- Become a label reader
There’s just no way around it: If you’re going to buy packaged foods, you have to pay attention to what’s in them. Three-quarters of the sugars Americans ingest are “hidden” in processed foods, so you have to become skeptical about every food you’re thinking of buying. Read those labels, educate yourself, and don’t let the “hidden” sugar pass by you.
Label Reading Lesson #1: Read the number of sugar grams listed on the nutrition-facts label of the food you’re considering buying. The lower the number of sugar grams, the better off you are. As a general guideline, look for foods that contain three grams of sugars or less per serving.
Realize that there are four grams of sugars in every teaspoon (or packet) of sugar. A can of soda that has 40 grams of sugar, therefore, is the equivalent of having a can of sparkling water with flavoring, then adding 10 teaspoons of sugar to it.
Label Reading Lesson # 2: Compare the number of sugar grams. Avoid the foods that have more than one-third of their total carbohydrates coming from sugars. The majority of the carbohydrates you consume each day should be of the complex variety, not from simple sugars. To help you eat this wa, shop for foods with lowest number of sugar grams in relation to the carbohydrate grams.
Label Reading Lesson #3: Peruse the ingredients list and look for sugar in all its various forms. It can be listed as any of the following: barley malt, beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered syrup, cane-juice crystals, cane sugar, caramel, carob syrup, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, date sugar, dextran, dextrose, diastase, diastatic malt, ethyl maltol, fructose, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate, glucose, glucose solids, golden sugar, golden syrup, grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup and yellow sugar. These are all ingredients you want to avoid.
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