Avoid Added Sugar
- Eating foods and drinking beverages with too much added sugar can be detrimental to your health!
- Know the difference between added sugars in highly processed foods and the natural sweetness found in whole foods.
- Once you find the healthy balance and tasty combo of whole food ingredients, your sugar cravings will disappear.
- Check IN: Whenever you a) consciously avoid added sugar by making a check mark on the check-in screen, or b) consume added sugar by using a slip (aka free pass) on the check-in screen. If you realize you’ve made it the entire day without any added sugar, check-in by making a check mark at the end of the day.
- Naturally occurring sugars in unsweetened dairy products and fresh fruit are a-okay.
- Naturally occurring sugars in dried fruit are okay in small quantities, but make sure to check the ingredients for sugar, and choose the organic kind without sulfites.
- Jam, fruit preserves and spreads made from only fruit are fine, but be sure to check the ingredients as most contain added sugar.
- Unsweetened non-dairy products (soy milk, almond yogurt)
- Unsweetened beverages, with water as the top choice
- Any type of Simple Sugar: white granulated, brown, turbinado, raw, powdered
- Any type of Alternative Sugar: coconut sugar, date sugar
- Any type of Syrup: simple syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, molasses
- Any type of Artificial Sweeteners: sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), acesulfame-K (Sweet One), neotame (Neotame)
- Any type of Alternative Sweeteners: sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, erythritol), stevia (Truvia, Sweet Leaf), monk fruit
- Sweetened yogurt with or without added sweet toppings or mix-ins
- Sweetened cereals or granolas
- Sweetened jam, jelly, preserves
- Sweetened beverages (flavored dairy or non-dairy milk, lattes, fruit drinks, energy drinks)
- If you slip, no biggie. Slipping means you’re trying, which is what counts! You can get back on track tomorrow.
Why This Is A Good Idea
Decrease your risk significantly for obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tooth decay, and much more by cutting these added sugar sources. Consuming added sugar causes a spike in blood sugar, triggering you to feel even more hungry and tired, leading to weight gain and prediabetes more quickly. It has been proven that metabolic health can be improved in as little as 10 days by removing added sugar from one’s diet. To be clear, not all sugars are created equal. The natural sugar from your apple doesn’t have the same effect as the added sugar from a can of soda, because the apple has fiber that causes your body to digest the sugar more slowly and helps keep you full, while the soda does not. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (about 24 grams) of added sugar per day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams). For reference, a regular can of soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar. Plus, ditch the extra sweetness and you’ll even have sharper taste buds—you’ll soon be able to experience more nuanced flavors in your food, and the natural sweetness of whole fruit.
Over 70% of strokes and colon cancer can be avoided, as can at least 80% of heart disease and 90% of type 2 diabetes, and diet is a significant factor. Along with exercise and not smoking, developing good eating habits (less animal products, less processed food and more veggies and fruit) can help cut your risk of diabetes by 95%, your risk of heart attack by 80% and risk of a stroke by half.
- Check IN Whenever you a) consciously avoid added sugar by making a check mark on the check-in screen, or b) consume added sugar by using a slip (aka free pass) on the check-in screen. If you realize you’ve made it the entire day without any added sugar, check-in by making a check mark at the end of the day.
- Hang tight–you’re probably going to crave sugar for the first few days. But once you get through that first stretch, it WILL get easier.
- Eat protein and healthy fats to keep you full and regulate blood sugar levels. Good sources are beans, nuts, soy products, eggs, hummus, lentils, yogurt, cheese, fish and avocado.
- Grab a piece of fruit or a date to satisfy your craving.
- Clean out your pantry. If you’re craving sugar and a bag of cookies or candy bars is staring you in the face, you’re much more likely to slip.
- Replace sugary snacks in your pantry with nuts, popcorn, nut butter (with no added sugar) and brown rice cakes.
- Stock your fridge with fresh fruit and veggies.
- Simply putting something in your mouth will likely take your mind off of your sugar craving.
- Eat regularly. When you let yourself get too hungry, you’re going to grab whatever is closest—often something sugary and processed.
- Stay hydrated! You might think you need a sugary afternoon snack, when really you’re just thirsty. But stick to water—sugar-sweetened beverages are now the #1 source of added sugars in our diets.
- Stay away from processed foods. They are very likely to contain added sugars.
- Opt for spices and seasonings to add flavor, e.g. one of our favorites, Zesty Z, a za’atar spread with no sugar, dairy, or soy.
- Eat a nutritious snack before you grocery shop. You’re much more likely to fill your cart with sugary snacks when your stomach is rumbling.
- Read all labels for hidden sugar! From tomato sauce to canned beans to salad dressings and everywhere in between. Even in “all natural” peanut butter! Names for added sugar include: dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, fructose, and maltose.
- The perimeter of the grocery store is your best bet. Processed items with added sugar tend to be in the middle.
- Go to the Produce section for a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fresh and frozen are good for breakfast, snacking, and dessert ideas.
- Pick your favorite proteins (organic chicken or turkey, sustainably-sourced fish, organic tofu, etc) to help keep you full throughout the day.
- Go to the Grains section for protein-rich, nutritious whole grains like amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa.
- Watermelon Salad with Mint and Lime Dressing
- 23 Infused Water Ideas That Will Make You Forget About Soda
- Spiced Popcorn
- Baked Veggie Chips
- Healthy No Sugar Added Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
- Quick Fresh Tomato Sauce
- Fruit Salad
- Pistachio and Feta Dip
Smart Things To Read And Watch
- Tips for Cutting Down on Sugar
- ‘Added Sugars’ Label on Foods May Save Many Lives
- Added sugars: Don’t get sabotaged by sweeteners
- Artificial sweeteners: sugar-free, but at what cost?
- VIDEO: Is Sugar in Fruit Different Than Sugar in Soda?
- The sweet danger of sugar
- The 56 Most Common Names for Sugar (Some Are Tricky)
Note: Diet ID is not focused on the number on the scale. Weight loss can be a byproduct of developing healthier eating habits, but if you have questions about your weight, please contact your physician.