Eat less sugar: 4 practical tips!
It is perhaps the most important step you can take to lose weight easily: eat less sugar. But even if you just want to eat healthier, your sugar consumption is an important point to pay attention to. Many people eat way too much sugar, with all the disadvantages that this entails. In this blog, we therefore give you 4 simple tips to consume less sugar. This way you avoid binge eating, unnecessary calories and other disadvantages of too much sugar.
Is sugar unhealthy?
First, why is eating less sugar so important? To explain that, let’s take a look at what exactly we mean by ‘sugar’.
Officially all carbohydrates are sugars. However, there is a difference between the different types of carbohydrates. Your body reacts differently to whole grain bread than it does to chocolate chip cookies. This is mainly due to the difference between fast and slow sugars.
- Fast sugars consist of single particles of glucose or fructose. Because they are so small, they are immediately absorbed by your body. Your blood sugar rises quickly and then falls again just as quickly.
- Slow sugars consist of longer chains of glucose and fructose. Your body takes longer to break them down. As a result, they enter your blood more gradually, with the result that you have a ‘flatter’, longer stretched peak.
Slow sugars are not unhealthy. These are carbohydrates that you can find in, for example, wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. They provide you with long-lasting energy that your body desperately needs. But fast sugars, with their fast blood sugar spike, are definitely a problem for your health!
Disadvantages of Fast Sugars
When we talk about eating less sugar, it is mainly about fast sugars. But why are fast sugars so unhealthy? A few drawbacks:
- Binge eating. Because your blood sugar drops so quickly after eating fast sugars, you lose explosive energy. Your body indicates that you quickly need new sugar. As a result, many people reach for more fast sugars and eat far too much of it. The result: binge eating, with which you quickly consume too many calories.
- After-dinner dips. This is also due to the rapid drop in your blood sugar. As mentioned, you also lose energy quickly as a result. The result is that an hour after dinner you quickly end up with a huge dip.
- Few nutrients. Added sugars contain practically no nutrients. The products they are in are usually heavily processed anyway and therefore contain few vitamins and minerals. A diet that is rich in sugars is therefore often poor in the substances that your body does need.
- Weight gain. Sugar is hardly filling, leads to binge eating and provides a lot of calories. It should be clear that this quickly goes wrong. If you eat a lot of sugar, it is easy to overeat unnoticed and gain weight. Many people on a high-sugar diet therefore become overweight.
- Diabetes and other conditions. Anyone who eats too much sugar for a long time puts a considerable burden on his body. Diabetes is the most common consequence of a high-sugar diet. But there are indications that sugar also causes or increases the risk of other (aging) disorders.
Am I eating too much sugar?
Eating less sugar is therefore a healthy choice in just about every possible way. Both in the short term – more energy – and in the long term – less obesity and no diabetes. And for almost everyone in the Netherlands, they eat too much sugar.
Yet many people are unaware of their own sugar consumption. The reason: sugar is often clogged. You really don’t just get it in with candies and cookies. Ready-made meals, savory snacks, sauces, bread and spice mixes are also often packed with it. If you add up all those (small and less small) bits in a day, you will soon see that you are eating a lot of sugar.
In general: are you not consciously paying attention to your sugar intake? Then there is a good chance that there is still a lot of improvement to be achieved.
Eat less sugar
So how do you do that, eat less sugar? Because sugar is so often hidden in your diet, it is especially important to become aware of what it is and what it is not in. And then it is of course also necessary to actually replace those sugars with healthier options. We give you 4 tips!
1. Learn to read labels
Are there added sugars in a product? The label is the only way to find out! And unfortunately that is not always easy: ‘sugar’ is not always under that name in the list of ingredients.
In general, at least the following terms are aliases for sugar:
- Anything that ends in ‘syrup’
- Anything that ends in ‘-ose’
Now you may be wondering: do I have to double-check all my groceries? Well, preferably – but don’t worry, it won’t take you as long as you think. After all, you only have to check everything once. Once you have found a product without sugars, you can just keep buying it.
2. Cook yourself
The more you make yourself from fresh ingredients, the less hidden sugars you can ingest. After all, no sugars have been added to a bunch of tomatoes. A pack of ready-to-eat diced tomatoes often contain added sugar.
The same goes for ready-to-eat meals. If you make your own curry, pasta sauce or stew, you can be sure that it contains no sugar. That can quickly make a difference!
More self-cooking may seem like a pretty big step. But if you choose the right dishes, you can prepare a perfectly nutritious meal within 15 minutes.
Besides ready-to-eat products, snacks and sweets are the main source of sugar in our diet. If you want to eat less sugar, you have to tackle this problem. That means you need alternatives to the standard candy, biscuit and chips. (Because yes, chips also contain a lot of sugar …)
You can opt for simple healthy snacks. Think of fruit and raw vegetables, nuts, very dark chocolate or whole wheat toast.
An alternative is to opt for healthier versions of your usual snacks. For example, make cookies using applesauce or mashed banana as a sweetener. These are processed more slowly by your body than regular fast sugars, and are therefore better alternatives.
4. Baby steps
You don’t have to cut all sugar from your diet overnight. In fact, this is often not practically possible. (And it’s really not a problem if you take in small amounts of fast sugars every day – as long as they are indeed small amounts.)
That is why it is better to work step by step. Start by cutting out one sugary product from your daily menu. Or take a closer look at your most used ready-made meals, but let the snacks sit for a while.
By working step by step, you avoid overwhelming yourself and giving up completely. Little by little you keep it clear!