Sugar might be sweet, but it isn’t a good friend. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, cutting out added sugar is a good idea. It doesn’t provide any essential nutrients and causes your blood sugar to spike. While this will give you a brief boost of energy, it doesn’t last. Blood sugar quickly drops again, leaving you sluggish and craving more sweets—which can make it hard to stick to any sort of diet plan.
So what’s the best way to avoid sugar without forgoing the sweet life entirely? We’ve got a few tips to help you get started:
- If you’re baking, try using less sugar than the recipe calls for. Often you won’t notice the difference.
- Portion control is key! If you eat a moderately sized dessert, your body’s digestive system is able to handle the sugar and the calories. But you’ll overload your system with, ahem, half a gallon of ice cream in half an hour.
- Don’t worry about the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables. They also contain good-for-you vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—unlike cookies and candy. And take advantage of those natural sugars: By roasting apples, peaches, pears, pineapples and more, their natural sugar comes out, caramelizes and turns into a delicious dessert. Try topping with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chopped nuts for a real treat!
- Beware that sugar is a common food additive and is often hidden on food packaging under other names, such as corn sweetener, honey, maple syrup and molasses. Any ingredient that ends in syrup or -ose, such as sucrose or maltose, is likely to be sugar.
- Thirsty? Stick to water and unsweetened teas. Avoid lemonade, sweetened teas and sodas. Even “diet” sodas can fool your body and interfere with weight loss.