Sugar, How You Get so Fly?
Ice Cream, Gummy Bears, Trail Mix, and Margaritas.
What do all of these have in common? Other than being absolutely delicious, they are full of SUGAR. Now there is nothing wrong with giving in to a sweet treat, but overindulgence can derail even the cleanest meal plans. The FDA recommends getting no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugar, around 12 teaspoons a day. However, the average person consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which really adds up over time!
Cutting back on sugar is easier said than done. In fact, studies show sugar has been shown to have an effect on the brain similar to that of an addictive drug. Removing it from your diet can cause withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, headaches and muscle aches. However, you can absolutely conquer your cravings. Here are a few tips to help cut back your sugar intake and stay on track with your goals.
Added sugars are just that, sugars that are added through processed or manufactured foods like cookies and cereals and sugar you add yourself. Naturally occurring sugars in things like fruits and veggies can be considered more nutritious than added sugars because they also have vitamins, nutrients, fiber and protein that slow their digestion and make them a steady source of energy. Be careful though, because companies sometimes add sugars in the forms of syrups and honey to your favorite juices. Begin to curb your sugar cravings by keeping fruits like apples and oranges on hand for that natural sweetness and the added nutrition benefits they bring (Hello, fiber!).
A Little at a Time
Cutting out sugar is not the time to go hard or go home. Scale back incrementally, or risk suffering a serious sugar crash. An easy place to start is looking at what you drink. For example switch from soda to sparkling water, reduce the number of tablespoons of creamer in your coffee, or cut your favorite juice by half and fill the half with water. Speaking of water, you can increase your water intake to feel full and hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel like reaching for that sweet treat, but in actuality, you are just thirsty. Also, keep nutritious swaps on hand. Instead of reaching for that ice cream or candy bar, try just a square or two of pure dark chocolate. Want something more indulgent? One of our favorites in a piece of sprouted bread, toasted, topped with RXBar Vanilla Almond Butter and banana slices. The bread doesn’t included added sugar and boasts a good bit of fiber, additionally you are getting a good amount of protein and potassium while feeling like you are indulging.
If you ever tried a diet like Whole 30 or Keto, you know that sugar is in everything! Whenever you buy packaged food, read the labels. It could be naturally occurring or added, but some things have more than sugar than we thought (Looking at you Ketchup and A1 Sauce). We’re not saying to you don’t use your favorite condiments, but we are telling you to think twice if you really need it. Mustard is an excellent alternative to steak sauce. Don’t knock it until you try it!
One of our favorite tricks to add the sweet without the sugar are spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric to our coffees and teas. It’s not sugar, we repeat, it’s not sugar, but it still adds a subtle sweetness to some of our favorite morning treats.
Clean Green Mango Kale Smoothie (Inspired By MyFitnessPal)
2 cups plain 0% Greek yogurt
1/2 cup chopped mango, frozen
1/2 cup sliced strawberries, frozen
1/2 medium banana, frozen
3 cups (200g) kale, stemmed and torn
2 tablespoons (30ml) chia seeds
In a blender, place the yogurt, then top with the mango, banana and kale. Secure the lid and blend, scraping down as needed, until very smooth. Add the chia seeds and blend to mix.
Transfer to two glasses and serve.