One of the very big challenges you’re likely to encounter when you’re trying to lose weight is cutting down on sugar and learning to do it sustainably.
Cutting down on sugar is a really great decision that will help you fast track your weight loss and help you heal from all the inflammation going on in your body as a result of eating too much sugar.
Sugar is the major source of energy for the body. Every food we eat ends up being broken down into glucose which is ultimately sugar. So your carbohydrate, protein, and fat end up being sugar so it’s not that sugar is bad for your health.
Sugar is the body’s main source of calories and we need calories to function. Even when we are not actively doing anything our body needs calories. We need calories to breathe, our heart needs calories to beat, we need calories to digest our food etc so sugar is not all bad.
In fact, when people have hypoglycemia from lack of eating and they faint, one of the easiest things you can do is to give them sugar or a carbonated drink.
Like everything in life though, too much sugar is bad.
When we cut down on sugar, our body utilizes energy from other sources like fat.
Why should you cut down on sugar?
You need to cut down on sugar intake to promote weight loss, reduce inflammation, regulate your hormones, and sleep better.
Let’s take a look at each point further.
Too much sugar can result in weight gain that’s why you should cut down on added sugars in your diet. When you cut down on added sugar you can promote weight loss because the body uses stored fat as the source of energy.
Reduction in inflammation
Side effects of cutting down on Sugar
There are no side effects associated with cutting down sugar intake but some people can experience weakness due to low energy, mood swings, and cravings for carbs especially when they don’t do it in a structured way.
That being said, most people do not experience any side effects when they reduce their sugar intake.
Best tips to cut down on sugar
Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet comprising of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fat makes it very easy to cut down on sugar without having sugar cravings.
Deficiency in magnesium, zinc, and chromium has been linked to sugar cravings. These macronutrients are essential in glucose regulation and utilization.
When I say eat a balanced meal, I do not mean eat carbohydrates for breakfast, protein for lunch, and healthy fat for dinner. I mean all your meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner should be a balanced meal.
A balanced meal will be 1 cup of cooked rice, 1 piece of grilled chicken, a quarter of an avocado, and a side of salad or vegetable.
When you eat a variety of foods regularly, you’re not likely to have a nutrient deficiency that will lead to intense food cravings.
An easy way to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet is to meal prep. Meal prep at the barest minimum means having an idea of what you want to eat before hunger strikes.
You can take it a step further by grocery shopping, having an emergency pantry stock, cooking a week’s worth of meals in one weekend, etc.
Meal prep can be as easy as you want it to be as long as it takes you one step closer to a balanced meal when you’re ready to eat.
Don’t overeat fruits
When we start eating healthy, there’s a tendency to go overboard with fruits like eating a bunch of bananas at a sitting alone. Most fruits contain sugar. The amount of sugar varies depending on the type of fruit.
A serving of fruit per meal is sufficient. You can add fruits to your smoothies, eat them as a snack, or dessert after your main meal.
One serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium apple, one finger of banana, one medium pear, one cup of diced watermelon, etc.
Remove carbonated drinks from your diet
50cl of coke contains 36g of sugar. 1 teaspoon of sugar is 4.2g.
Are you likely to consume 8 teaspoons of sugar at once?
Very unlikely. But that’s how much sugar you’re consuming when you drink soda. That’s a lot of added sugar. Remember that you’re also getting sugar from the normal meals that you’re eating like fruits, rice, beans, potatoes, etc.
If you cut down carbonated drinks from your diet, you drastically reduce your intake of added sugars and you also get to reduce your caloric intake because most of these carbonated drinks contain roughly 150 calories.
Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweetener
It’s very easy to be tempted to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners but do your best to stay away from artificial sweeteners as they contain aspartame which is not good for your health.
Additionally, most artificial sweeteners I have tried usually have a bitter aftertaste and you end up regretting your decision to add it to your meals.
If you must add a sweetener to your meals, you’re better off adding dates to your meals or using Stevia / Truvia sparingly.
Make water your best friend
Water should be your best friend when you’re trying to cut down on sugar. If you don’t enjoy drinking water you can spice up your water intake with a dash of lemon/lime/orange, and cucumber.
Water is so good for you and I talked about the importance of adequate water intake in this post so you can check that out
If you drink 500mls of water before eating, it drastically helps you reduce your portion and you can eat healthy without feeling deprived. It keeps you full for longer so you’re not tempted to keep picking on sugary snacks so make sure you’re drinking 3 liters of water daily.
Now that you know cutting down on sugar can speeds up your weight loss or restore your health if you’re not trying to lose weight, try the tips outlined in this post and let me know how it works out for you.
If you have additional tips, please share them with us in the comment section below.