We all know how dangerous sugar is to our health. It’s especially so for diabetics. Keep reading today’s article by Thomas Boston for a variety of ways to reduce your sugar intake – whether you’re a diabetic or not.
When you have diabetes, diet is a huge part of managing your blood glucose levels. Even if you take insulin or other medications, altering your diet can help to keep your blood sugar within a reasonable range. This may allow you to reduce your dependence on insulin to regulate blood sugar.
Sometimes, however, following a healthy diet for diabetes is easier said than done. Adopt some of these creative ways to cut back on sugar to ensure you remain healthy and your diabetes is appropriately managed.
1. Read Nutrition Labels Carefully
The first step in cutting back on sugar is to know what you are putting into your body. Read the nutrition labels of your favorite foods to see how many carbohydrates they provide and how many of those carbs are simple sugars (versus complex carbohydrates, as found in whole grain foods). The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for 45 to 60 grams of carbs in a meal.
2. Track Glycemic Index
Glycemic index refers to the amount that a given food will impact your blood sugar. High glycemic index foods tend to cause blood sugar to spike due to the rapid availability of simple carbs. Low glycemic index foods, on the other hand, cause much less change to blood sugar levels. Whenever possible, choose low glycemic index foods — such as whole vegetables, non-starchy fruits, whole grains and protein-rich foods. Testing your blood sugar frequently can help you understand the impact of specific foods on blood glucose.
3. Watch What You Drink
Beverages are a major source of added sugars. Cut back on those Frappuccinos and beware of free refills on lemonade or soda at restaurants.
4. Use Alternative Sweeteners
There are many options for alternative sweeteners. These tend to prevent your blood pressure from spiking. Experiment with Stevia or other sweeteners to find one that satisfies your sweet tooth without having a huge impact on your blood sugar.
5. Go Natural
Whenever possible, choose foods that are naturally sweet and contain no added sugars. For example, desserts sweetened with honey or agave syrup can be better choices than those loaded with added sugars. Alternatively, enjoy a piece of fruit instead of a traditional dessert. The natural sugars in fruit will satisfy your desire for something sweet without affecting your blood sugar as strongly.
6. Know the Hidden Sources of Sugar in Foods
Many people are surprised to find that condiments, yogurt, granola, soup, and even beer, can have high amounts of added sugar. Beware of these foods, which can spike your carbohydrate count.
7. Know Your Limits
Being diagnosed with diabetes does not need to be a death sentence for your sweet tooth. The key is learning to enjoy sugar in moderation. Small amounts of sugary foods — a small slice of cake, a single cookie or a small ice cream cone — are not going to be a catastrophe for your blood sugar levels. What is most important is that you embark on a diet plan that is sustainable over the long term.
8. Make Gradual Changes
If you are accustomed to a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar diet, going “cold turkey” can be a big mistake. Your body will begin crying out for more sugar, leading to intense cravings for carb-heavy foods. Instead, gradually cut back on sugar over a period of weeks or months. For example, perhaps you add two packets of sugar to your coffee every morning. Start by cutting back to one-and-a-half packs, then a single pack, and then just a sprinkle. Soon, your taste buds will adapt and you will enjoy your coffee black.
9. Discover New Herbs and Spices
Too often, we turn to sugar and salt to season foods. Instead, get creative with other herbs and spices to add a flavor boost without affecting your health. Experimenting with cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric or paprika adds a new flavor dimension to food without adding carbohydrates.
10. Find High-Protein Snacks
Snack foods don’t have to be full of sugar. A handful of nuts, plain yogurt topped with chia seeds, celery sticks with natural peanut butter or a small bowl of cottage cheese are good, protein-packed snacks that will prevent cravings later.
About the Author
Thomas Boston founded Cash Now Offer as a way for diabetics, like himself, to sell unused test strips for cash. He understands the financial strains that can come with a diabetes diagnosis, and is focused on providing diabetics with the supplies needed to control their disease.
Do you have any hacks to share with us in how you successfully reduce your sugar intake?