“Cut down on Sugar”, every diet, every nutritionist, every health expert recommends it. Cutting down on sugar helps you get in shape, it takes care of your heart, and is overall good for your body. But what does sugar exactly do to your body that makes it so bad?
WHAT TOO MUCH SUGAR DOES TO YOUR BODY
Some say, consuming too much sugar may be one of the first things you do to your body. Excess sugar can simply be associated with various diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and various heart disorders. But that’s not all; a quick search on the web will tell you that consuming too much sugar can have various effects on your body. Your teeth are affected, it can worsen existing joint pains, it accelerates skin ageing, and also has an effect on your kidney and liver.
Skin: Collagen and elastin are protein fibres known to keep your skin firm and young. Excess sugar can harm these fibres which in turn leads to lines of ageing and wrinkles.
Teeth: The bacteria in our mouth loves to feast on sugar, and once done, they produce acid waste which is responsible for erosion and cavities.
Obesity: No flashing news here, sugar leads to weight gain. Various studies suggest that people who consume more sugar are likely to gain weight easily and be at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, sugar also has an ill effect on your liver, kidney, pancreas, blood pressure, and heart.
So, we’ve learnt that it’s important to reduce sugar or artificial sweeteners to our diet. But, in the times of fast-food with great shelf lives is it really easy to watch your sugar consumption? Well, honestly speaking it’s a little more difficult than you think. Packing labels have various tricks up their sleeves. They use different words for sugar and know exactly how to sneak into places you’d least expect sugar to be.
How Sugar is Hidden on Labels
Read your labels and if you find that your product contains any of the following, know that it’s sugar.
TIPS & TRICKS TO HELP YOU CUT DOWN ON SUGAR
The average Indian consumes about 10-11 teaspoons (roughly 50 gms) of sugar per day which is higher than the recommended amount of sugar each day. Heart.org states, “Men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day. For women, the number is lower: 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day.”
So, if you find yourself generally enjoying more sugar than is actually needed, here are some tips that will help you cut it down.
1. Learn the Difference between Natural & Artificial Sugar
When nutritionists are telling us to cut down on sugar, what they actually mean is getting off artificial sugar. Fruits, dairy, and vegetables contain naturally occurring sugar that does not harm your body. They also contain loads of fibre, fat (dairy) and other nutrients, making the sugar in them close to not relevant. In simpler terms, fresh produce will not help you gain weight like a bottle of your favourite cold drink.
Any form of sugar added during the making/processing of a food is added sugar and a lot of things that come in a packet have it. So read your label and make an informed purchase. Anytime you see any of the above mentioned words on the label, know that it’s sugar.
2. Read Every Label
If truth be told, you will find sugar in items you least expect it to be. Protein bars, breakfast cereals, ketchup and sauce, bread, salad dressings, soup mixes, flavoured coffee – all have sugar in them.
If you’re looking at the nutritional chart both natural and artificial sugar is clubbed together, making it difficult to know how harmful the product really is.
You need to check the ingredients list to know what kind of sugar is added.
3. Say No to Aerated and Energy Drinks
Most soda/cold drinks are just coloured sugar water. You can’t be surprised by this! What’s worse is the “diet / sugar-free” versions of these drinks. Multiple studies show that soda heavily impacts weight gain and the diet versions also have sugar in them hidden in the form of a different name. So you consume them without guilt and they keep adding the calories to your day.
4. Consume Whole Foods
Whole foods are not processed, they don’t have artificial sugar added to them. Opt for whole foods and especially fruits that are nature’s natural sweets. Fresh fruits help satisfy your body’s sweet cravings and the rich amount of fibre and nutrition in them is good for you overall.
5. Try a Savoury Breakfast
“Indulge in a savoury breakfast and skip that packaged fruit juice, your favourite cereal, or the sweet filter coffee. Instead opt for options like a boiled egg, poha, or even a veggie omelet and feel free to opt for sugarless black coffee or fresh fruit juice,” says Dr. Relina Lindsell Cut fruits with plain yogurt with some nuts on the side also make for a wholesome breakfast.
Some easy tricks to help you cut down on sugar:
– Replace sugar with natural sweeteners like Stevia
– Swap your regular chocolate or biscuit with a fruit
– Try unsweetened teas instead of cold drinks
– Chew fennel seeds
– Try dark chocolate
– Flavour coffee with cinnamon instead
– Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by half
– Remove items with high sugar content from your kitchen
If you wish to remove sugar from your diet, you should first try and minimize it. Be more aware, try the tips and be on your way to a healthier you.