While nothing beats the sweet taste of a soft and fudgy pastry or the delectable jiggle of caramel custard on a winter evening–eating too much sugar is not that great an idea for the body.
Too much sugar can result in obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease. In fact, a study conducted at the Louisiana State University in the US found that consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Similarly, a study published in the journal Circulation found that weight gain over a period of time is related in part to increased intake of added sugars–which in turn results in the deterioration of cardiovascular health.
But this doesn’t mean that you refrain from eating fruits and vegetables that have natural sugars because they have little effect on blood sugar and are actually healthy. It is added sugar that one should be wary of. And believe it or not, but your favourite packaged foods have the unhealthiest sugars of them all. The Harvard Medical School backs this claim.
Now that we’ve got the science out of the way and you know just how unhealthy added sugar is for you, let’s look at ways you can cut back on your consumption.
1. Cut back on juices and colas
Packaged juices and carbonated drinks contain a lot of added sugarπ–you know that already. But did you know that Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people with an increased consumption of sugary beverages have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes?
On the other hand, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study conducted in the US found that reduction of consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with weight loss. Thus, moving from sugar-laden drinks to water infused with mint and cucumber, herbal teas, or unsweetened tea or coffee is the right way to go.
2. Avoid calorie-dense desserts
Desserts are loaded with sugars which often cause blood sugar levels to spike up in the body. So cakes, pies, doughnuts, and co–which are sweet enough to make your teeth hurt–should be phased out from your diet.
Don’t worry–you can still satiate your sweet tooth with healthy alternatives like fresh fruit, yogurt, baked fruits and cream, and dark chocolates.
3. Ketchup is sweeter than you think that it is, so use it in moderation
Ketchup often contains a lot of added sugars to preserve the condiment. So, if you’re looking to reduce overall sugar consumption–put that down that ketchup bottle. To add taste to your snacks and such, use sauces, fresh or dried herbs, seasoning mix, yellow mustard, vinegar, or pesto.
4. Be friends with whole foods
Whole foods, especially fruits, are usually devoid of additives and other artificial substances making them a healthy alternative. Cooking from scratch and not relying on pre-mixes and canned sauces can also help reduce your sugar intake.
5. Break up with breakfast cereals, like right now!
A study by the University of Otago in New Zealand found that eating too much-added sugars through breakfast cereals and beverages leads to obesity. And trust us–breakfast cereals have a lot of them.
Instead, opt for oatmeal with chopped fruit; boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs; or fruits for breakfast instead.