Hi Everyone! Today we have an awesome guest post from David Dack of Runners Blueprint with some great tips about how you can eat less sugar.
David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy.
You should definitely check out his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.
Most of us need to eat less sugar.
The average American consumes a lot of sugar—at around 25 to 30 teaspoons of the sweet stuff a day, according to the American Heart Association.
To put that number in perspective, that’s roughly 400 to 600 calories each day of empty calories, and over three times the suggested daily limit.
That’s a lot of sugar.
If you’re not freaking out yet, you should.
The impact of excessive sugar on your health goes far beyond a simple increase in calorie intake. It’s far more sinister.
Research shows that sweet stuff affects organs throughout your body.
It puts you at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, tooth decay, etc. it even messes up the appearance of your skin.
In this post, I’ll share with you a few practical tips that will help you reduce sugar intake without starving to death.
Sound great? Let’s get started.
A great nutrient to add to your diet when trying to crack down on sugar intake is protein.
A growing number of studies found that a higher protein intake helps maintain consistent blood sugar, which is key for curbing cravings and preventing overeating.
For example, research found that participants who had a protein-rich breakfast reported fewer cravings for sweets later in the day. By doing this, you’ll be able to feel satisfied longer and keep cravings at bay.
Protein stimulates the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which helps regulate hunger and keep you satisfied longer.
It also limits the release of ghrelin or the hunger hormone.
Combined with exercise Protein supports building lean muscle and that increases your metabolic rate—the amount of calories your body burn, even at rest.
I could go on and on about the benefits of protein, but you should get it by now.
Runners and other very active people need more protein than sedentary people to keep muscles and bones strong, but don't overeat protein.
Your body turns excess protein into sugar, and the process (gluconeogenesis) produces some waste products (mainly nitrogen and amino acids) that are hard on you kidneys.
If you would like to see how much protein you require, check out my Runners Guide to Protein.
Add high-quality protein to your meals and snacks.
Here are some great ones:
- Greek yogurt
- Grass-fed beef
- Raw cheese
- Legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas
Eat Healthy Fats
If you want to cut out sugar (carbohydrates) without overeating protein, you should take a look at fat.
Healthy fats are really good for you.
As far as keeping you full, fat has the same benefits as protein and it will keep ghrelin (the hunger hormone) in check.
Healthy fat is a far better fuel for your body than protein. It is less toxic and easier on your kidneys.
If you cut out the sugar, eating healthy fats can substantially reduce inflammation throughout your body.
Healthy Fats Include:
- Olive oil
- Coconut Oil
- MCT Oil
- Butter (grass fed)
- Nut Oils (walnut macadamia etc.)
- Fatty cuts of Meat (grass fed)
- Bacon (uncured)
Don't Eat Unhealthy Fats
Most of the "cooking" oils available in the Supermarket are not good for you.
You shouldn’t eat vegetable oils like safflower oil, soy bean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil.
They are made using high heat and solvents, and the result is a toxic and inflammatory oil.
More Info on Healthy Fats:
Eat low Carb Snacks
When you’re reducing sugar intake, have healthy and low carb snacks at reach in case you get famished between meals.
This is especially the case during the few first weeks of your resolution—that’s when hunger pangs and sugar cravings will hit you the hardest; you got to be ready for them.
A healthy snack should high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats but very low in carbs, grains, and sugar.
Such snacks will leave feeling sated, which helps have fewer cravings throughout the day.
Here are some of my favorite low carb snacks:
- Non-starchy veggies
No Sugary Drinks
So what should be your first step toward cutting down on sugar?
I’d recommend that you start with boycotting sugar-sweetened drinks.
This will have a big impact on the rest of your diet—and sugar intake—without changing anything else.
It’s the cheapest way to be healthy—since we all know that eating healthy isn’t that cheap.
Why it’s the case?
Get this. One can of soda packs in all or more of the recommended daily intake for added sugar, depending on the type.
The typical 12-ounce can of soda contains more than eight teaspoons of sugar.
That’s 138 calories and it's all sugar.
Liquid calories are as bad—probably worse—than junk-food calories.
Research shows that excessive intake increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
Instead, switch to unsweetened ice tea, coffee, or sparkling water.
Or drink your water—it’s good for you and has zero calories.
Eat Non-Starchy Veggies
Vegetables are good for you for many reasons, but they are not all created equal.
If you’re serious about liming your sugar intake, you should know which ones to eat and which ones to avoid.
Some veggies contain more sugar than others and despite the health-boosting perks, confusing sugar-rich veggies may undo your healthy eating efforts. - and you don’t want that.
When selecting vegetables, avoid the starchy variety such as peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc.
These pack in significantly higher sugar content, therefore, consuming them may rev up your daily sugar intake because they are sugary and your body turns them into sugar almost immediately.
Instead, make sure to eat plenty of non-starchy and low-carb veggies. These
- Baby corn
- Brussels sprouts
- Salad greens
- Swiss chard
Read the labels
Singling out added sugar is no easy feat.
The sugar content on ingredient lists lumps both natural and added sweet into one measurement.
You should teach yourself how to properly read food labels.
You should also familiarize yourself with the technical jargon that stands for sugar in one form or the other.
So what should you do then?
Here are the main sugar synonyms to hunt for:
- Maple syrup
- Dried cane syrup
- Organic cane sugar
- Brown rice syrup
- High Fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Almost any ingredient ending in "o-s-e."
If one or more of these names appear on the food labels, ditch that item on the spot—unless you want to get fat.
You should also look for a lower-sugar version of your regular foods.
Thanks again to David Dack and if you find yourself needing some encouragement to get moving, you should check out this section about motivation on his blog!