The more sugar you ingest, the more your body craves it. It is this never-ending cycle of eat more, need more that has created an epidemic of obesity and health complications such as Type 2 Diabetes. And for most, our daily sugar intake is much higher than it should be (or that we even realize) . . .
Sugar is not necessarily an evil villain, but it is the amount of sugar most of us consume – sometimes without even realizing it – that can wreak havoc on our bodies.
Even when you decide to make a “healthy choice,” if you read an ingredient label, you will find that sweeteners are hidden in many of the foods you consume on a regular basis, many of which are not even the obvious sweet treats.
Read on to learn what a healthy daily sugar intake looks like, along with guidance on how to do a sugar cleanse so you can get back on track.
Daily Sugar Intake: Here’s What You Need to Know
Four grams of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar. The average man should have nine teaspoons of daily sugar intake (or less), while a woman should have six teaspoons or less. To put it into perspective, the average flavored yogurt has between 15 and 20 grams of sugar, which equals 3.75 to 4.5 teaspoons of sugar per serving.
Sprinkle a quarter-cup of natural, seemingly healthy granola on top and you can be adding 2 – 4 teaspoons of sugar – and that is just breakfast!
The average man should have nine teaspoons of daily sugar intake (or less), while a woman should have six teaspoons or less.
Dump a pre-made tomato sauce on your pasta (which contains a teaspoon or so of sugar) and you can add another 3.5 – 6 teaspoons of sugar, far exceeding both men’s and women’s recommended sugar intake, without even thinking about it.
And this is before you indulge in a post-dinner dessert, or anything else that contains sugar throughout your day. Yikes! As you can see, the amount of sugar in your daily diet can accumulate much faster than you’d think, and often in sneaky ways we don’t even think about!
So how can we reduce our daily sugar intake, or even ditch the sugar entirely with a sugar cleanse for a healthier and happier tomorrow?
Use These 10 Tips to Decrease Your Daily Sugar Intake:
1. Black Coffee Please
Think about the number of cups of coffee or tea that you consume in a day. Now, think about that tablespoon (or 2 or 3) of sugar and milk (which contains 2 teaspoons of sugar per half cup serving) that you add to your cups of joe.
Your daily coffee or tea is a great opportunity to permanently replace sugars (including artificial ones) by eliminating any sweetener or adding a flavor substitute. For teas, add a splash of lemon or lime juice. For java, add coconut milk (which contains almost no sugar) or coconut oil (which is naturally sugar free and super healthy for you).
Interested in learning more about the health benefits of coconut oil? Read about how Coconut Oil In Your Coffee Could Be the Key to Weight Loss
2. Reduce or Eliminate Processed Foods
When it comes to your daily sugar intake, processed foods can be the biggest culprit for majorly exceeding the recommended portion.
Sugar is oftentimes disguised in your food’s ingredients in the forms of high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave, maltose, sucrose, honey, dextrose, fruit juice, etc.
You’d be shocked at the amount of added sugar in pre-packaged, processed foods like cookies, cakes, breads, flavored yogurt, crackers, chips, peanut butter, frozen dinners, etc.
And beware! Sugar is oftentimes disguised in your food’s ingredients in the forms of high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave, maltose, sucrose, honey, dextrose, fruit juice, etc.
Instead, choose products that come in a pure state, such as rice, vegetables and chicken. You can season them to your preference and know exactly what you are eating. Remember: the best trick to keep yourself from reaching for these unhealthy food choices is not purchasing them in the first place.
3. Make Healthy Swaps
Is it 3pm and you need a pick-me-up? Don’t grab that snack bar with six teaspoons of sugar. Grab a handful of unadulterated, unsalted nuts. And don’t be fooled by dried fruit, which can pack in as much as six teaspoons of sugar in a third of a cup.
Remember: the best trick to keep yourself from reaching for these unhealthy food choices is not purchasing them in the first place.
Choose an unflavored Greek yogurt instead of regular flavored yogurt and you can get a healthy dose of protein and significantly less sugar (if any). Want something sweet on the go? Eat a piece of fruit, which provides vitamins, minerals and fiber.
4. Say Goodbye to Soda
Please tell me that you are not still drinking soda, especially diet soda that contains artificial sweeteners that are even worse for you than sugar. And no more energy drinks! They can pack at least 20 teaspoons or more of sugar in a single serving, destroying your daily sugar intake.
Drink water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea instead, adding 0 grams of sugar to your daily scorecard. Staying hydrated gives you the natural energy you need to make it through the day without needing extra caffeine.
Want to jazz up your water? Check out these 12 Infused Water Recipes For Delicious + Healthy Hydration
5. Avoid Refined White Flour
Avoid highly refined foods such as breads and pasta, which are stripped of nutrients and often loaded with extra sugar. White flour metabolizes (or breaks down in the body) as . . . you guessed it . . . sugar!
6. Take Your Daily Vitamins
Many times when your body is nutrient deficient, it can create intense cravings for something sweet or salty. Take a multivitamin that matches your lifestyle, and your chances of mid-day sugar cravings will be drastically reduced.
Not sure if you’re getting the proper vitamins or if you have a vitamin deficiency? Read 5 Unexpected Signs You May Be Suffering From Vitamin Deficiency
7. Don’t Skip Meals
When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops, making you crave nutrition. This is when you reach for a quick and easy snack. Beware! This is when the extra dose of sugar creeps in.
Instead, try to eat small meals every three to four hours. Your blood sugar levels will remain consistent, and you will be less likely to reach for that sugary meal replacement.
8. Get Plenty of Rest
Sometimes we reach for sugary foods when we are feeling sluggish and need an extra boost of energy. Instead, make sure that you listen to your body and get the amount of sleep it needs to function properly.
Exercise gets your blood flowing and gives you an instant boost of endorphins and energy. Feeling sluggish? Drop and give me 20 (pushups, sun salutations, squats, jumping jacks, whatever)! Increased circulation keeps your energy levels up, and your need for sugar down.
When you don’t have time to hit the gym, Try This Full-Body Pyramid Workout – No Equipment Necessary!
10. Spice It Up
Sometimes when you think your body wants a sweet snack, what it is really craving is a little flavor. Sprinkle a little spice on your next meal – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger, cilantro, parsley, basil, cayenne, etc. for extra flavor and/or sweetness, depending on what your body craves at the moment.
Want to Do a Full Sugar Cleanse? Here’s How
Once you are ready to detox your body of sugar, be prepared for some withdrawal symptoms (including headaches) while your body adjusts, so it’s important to start slowly.
First, cut out the obvious culprits like candy bars, soda, etc. Then for the next three days, eliminate go-to foods with preservatives and added sugar (tomato sauce, breads and pastas).
When it comes to doing a sugar cleanse, start slowly.
Just make sure that you are not under eating or depriving your body of necessary nutrients. By the fourth or fifth day, your body should be well-adjusted, and you can slowly begin to add more healthy sugars such as fruits.
In the end, your sugar cleanse is not a diet or a quick fix. Ditching the sugar is a lifestyle change that will make you healthier and happier in the long run, and there’s nothing more important than that!
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