Overcoming the Sugar Challenge
Keeping track on how much sugar you intake is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes. The "empty" calories from added sugars in desserts, some drinks and candy can lead to weight gain and spikes in blood glucose levels.
Here is some Good News! Cutting down on sugar may be easier than you think.
Tips on how to start cutting down on your sugar:
Toss the table sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses. Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. Work on cutting back on usual amounts of sugar you add by half and decrease more from there.
Swap out the soda and even those diet drinks. Water is best, but if you want something sweet to drink or are trying to lose weight, naturally flavored seltzers or waters or low sugar juices available today can be a better choice than sugary drinks.
Eat fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits. Choose fruit canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup. Drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess syrup or juice.
Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of added sugars. Dairy and fruit products will contain some natural sugars. Added sugars are important to "look out" for and can be found on the ingredients list.
Add fruit. Instead of sugar to cereal, oatmeal etc., try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots). These do not have added fructose sugars and will help curb the craving in "moderation".
Cut your servings back. When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar in your recipe by one-half or substitute it with Pure-Via or Stevia 1/4 amount to regular sugar. You will often not notice a difference.
Try extracts. Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts like almond, vanilla, orange or lemon, this often works as the best natural sweetener in many recipes.
Replace it totally. Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar. Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg something else that is healthier for you and can perk up your taste buds!
Substitute. Switch out sugar with unsweetened applesauce in recipes (use equal amounts) or Pure-Via and Stevia - natural plant based sweeteners only.
Limit or avoid Non-nutritive Sweeteners. If you are trying to lose weight, a temporary fix to satisfying your sweet tooth may be with non-nutritive sweeteners. Look out! there are many sweeteners out there that are full of chemical agents to create the sweet taste. Imagine a chemical lab when you're about to use it. Splenda, Equal, Sweet N Low etc. are NOT suggested good sweetener replacements. Read the ingredients before you buy a non-nutritive sweetener, it could do you body more harm than good. Make sure it is appropriate for your glycemic index.
REMEMBER THIS EASY SWEETENER SHOPPING RULE :
PLANT/FRUIT BASED SWEETENER = GOOD / NATURAL.
BOX/LAB CHEMICAL MADE SWEETENER = BAD / NOT NATURAL