For obvious reasons, we have a love/hate relationship with sugar. Tastes so good, feels so bad. And it turns out that we’re all eating too much of it. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that we currently get about 16 percent of our daily calories from sugar alone.
It’s known that sugar only provides calories and no other nutrients. It does, however, give you things like a higher chance of tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
While kicking the sugar habit may seem daunting, we’ve got three easy tips that will help you cut back without breaking a sweat.
- Start Slow
So don’t go all agro with the cold turkey approach- It’s important to recognize that any change in palate takes time. Sugar addiction is real—some studies have found that it’s just as powerful, if not more than, cocaine—so while it’s not dangerous to drop sugar all at once, it may be hard for you to sustain unless you have a strong support group.An easier option? The slow-and-steady method. If you normally put two packets of sugar in your coffee, put one and a half in for a week and then just one the next. Instead of sitting on the couch with the entire bag of cookies, grab one, and put the rest away (we know, easier said than done). You won’t feel as deprived, and you’ll allow your taste buds to adjust over time.
- Keep It Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Whether it’s a sugar bowl on the counter or a candy jar on your desk, it’s hard to resist sugar when its sweet, sweet face is staring right at you. An easy way to eat less of it is to make the sugar you do have in the house harder to find. Put cookies on top of the fridge, donate the candy jar to the conference room down the hall, and park on the side of your building that doesn’t have you walk right by the cupcake shop. When it takes extra effort to get your sugar fix, you’ll be giving your mind more time to talk yourself out of an unhealthy choice.
- Remember This One Calculation
Have you ever noticed how packaged foods don’t have a percent daily value (%DV) for sugars? This can make it tricky to keep track of just how much sugar you’re really consuming. 13 grams? 30 grams? How much sugar is that really? Since grams can be hard for most of us to visualize, remembering this one calculation: 4 grams of sugar equals 1 tsp of sugar. So that 12 oz. can of Coke you had this afternoon with 39 grams of sugar was equal to almost 10 tsps of sugar. Whoa.