Sugar is addictive and our bodies treat it as a toxin. To make matters worse, many convenience foods are ladened with the stuff, and not just the sweet foods. From crisps to pasta sauces, you’ll be amazed at the sugar content of your favourite savoury store cupboard staples! Significantly reduce your intake by simply avoiding these sugar riddled savouries and not actually miss it at all!
Today, we’ll be covering the basics about sugar and making easy changes to your diet to reduce your whole family’s sugar intake. Unfortunately, sugar is a biggy! For most people, cutting it out completely is impossible but there are lots of ways to reduce your consumption that you might not even notice! Win-win, right? Sugar is definitely a subject that we’ll be revisiting again and again, it’s one of the major factors in ‘losing weight forever’!
Why You Should Reduce your Sugar Intake
By ditching the sugar you will not only lose weight but also see a significant improvement in your mood. Foods high in sugar cause huge peaks and troughs in our energy levels and I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling drained, I’m a moody whatsit that can snap at the smallest inconvenience! And what do many of us reach for to get that next energy boost? Sugar of course! So there continueth the cycle! By snacking on protein and low GI foods, you will see your energy levels stabilise and consequently, your mood- it works for me and my kids! Of course, food is no substitute for sleep. However, if sleep deprivation is currently a feature in your life, you’ll be more prepared to power on with a protein based snack rather than with that packet of choccy biscuits!
The Effects of Sugar on your Body
When you eat sugar in its processed form (the kind most commonly added to food and drinks) it gets straight into the bloodstream and starts causing havoc! Your body actually treats it as a toxin and puts a lot of effort into dealing with it. Consequently, other processes like absorbing vitamins, digestion and healing injuries or inflammation become less effective, causing fatigue. If you have an injury of any kind, cutting sugar out of your diet will increase recovery time significantly.
Where Should you Start?
Let’s start with a few sugar swaps and easy ways to reduce your sugar intake. You might be able to pat yourself on the back already with some of these. Remember to take it slowly, choosing realistic goals with not too many changes at one time.
Substitute sugary cereal for porridge or Weetabix sweetened with fruit, choose a savoury toast topping or flip your thinking and go continental with ham and cheese! Here are some quick and healthy breakfast ideas to get you started.
Simple Homemade Sauces
Making your own sauce or dip can be really simple, tasty and completely sugar free! The total meal preparation time might increase by a few minutes but by making more than you need each time, you’ll have a sugar-free sauce ready the next time you need it! Here are some quick tasty recipes, all sugar free and all perfect for freezing:
When we need a snack, our instinct is to reach for the sweet stuff. If you really need something sweet, choose a piece of fruit. Fruit contains natural sugar (fructose) and it’s packaged in the perfect portion size so you know you aren’t over doing it. Be careful when drinking fruit juice and large servings of fruit smoothies as these allow you to drink more than you would otherwise eat. Click here for some other sugar free sweet snacks and treats.
If you prefer a savoury snack, look for protein. Nuts are a perfect snack and when eaten whole, not as full of fat as we’ve been led to believe! We can’t properly digest nuts so much of the fat just goes straight through! However, beware of smooth nut butters as these have already been broken down and are therefore absorbed far more easily so go for the crunchy ones! Other savoury snacks to try:
- Plain yogurt
- Humous, guacamole, tomato salsa as dips with raw veg or spread on oat cakes/ Ryvita/ other sugar free crackers
- Plain popcorn- cooked at home
- Hard boiled egg
- 25g cheese
It’s important to remember that fat doesn’t make you fat! In fact a high sugar diet will make you put on weight more quickly than a high fat diet because you can eat more sugar calories than fat, without feeling full. Sugar based snacks are full of empty calories whereas healthy fats and oils contain vital nutrients. This article lists a few of the many benefits of eating fat, even fats that we’ve previously been told to avoid! Don’t be afraid to snack on foods that are high in good fats, such as some of those listed above. Your body will process that fat into the energy it needs. When snacking on these high fat foods, limit your intake to 200 calories/ serving especially if you are trying to lose weight. Listen to your body and eat slowly to feel fuller. This gives your brain time to recognise the amount you are eating.
Reduce your Sugar Intake to Lose Weight Forever
If you are following my ‘How to lose weight forever’ plan, it’s time to start putting this into practice! Remember, this is a lifestyle change for a healthier, happier you so share it with the whole family!
Understand it– Make sure you get it! Understanding why you are making a change means you are far more likely to stick to it!
Reducing your sugar intake is probably something you’ve thought about before but had you really understood how that sugar is effecting your body? Picturing how sugar is effecting my body, has really helped motivate me to cut back. Contact me or leave a comment below if you have a question.
Optimise and adapt it– No one can implement every dietary change to the letter. Work out what will work for you and suit your lifestyle. Make a small change now and revisit in a few weeks. Small steps are the key to losing weight forever.
Start by reading the labels of all your regular purchases to get an idea of how much sugar you and your family are currently consuming. Simply choosing a different product or brand could make a big difference. It really is best to start with an easy change because success will motivate you to continue.
Master it– Once you have decided how this change can work for you, do it! Change takes time so you need to stick at it to see results. To help you master changes, don’t do it alone……….
If you need support feel free to contact me through any of my social media channels.
Teach and share it– Making any change alone is hard. If everyone is doing it and understanding it, you are all in it together. Introduce ideas to your family and friends. Educate your children and get them into great habits. Share the love!
Remember to explain the reasons why when introducing a change to young children (or anyone for that matter). The best moments are hearing your child explaining it to someone else or better still, telling you off for not following your own rule!!
Are you always on a different diet? Always trying to lose weight? Stop with the quick fixes and start with the ‘forever’ plan. Join me and my family and lose weight forever!