Click here to listen to Episode 25 of The Diabetic Toolbox Podcast: Cutting Back on Sugar for Real This Time
We’ve all said it including me, today I am not going to the vending machine, or get a large fry from the drive-thru, or drink a soda. Yet, according to the USDA, Americans consume 17 teaspoons or 68 grams of sugar daily. It’s no wonder that diseases such as obesity and diabetes are running rampant. Cutting back on sweets can help protect you from these severe health conditions and help you lose weight. Even if you have a sweet tooth, today’s tips will make it easy to eat healthier.
Health professionals are not just advising you to cut back on sugar so that you have less joy in your life. Because let’s face it, sugar tastes good and brings energy and joy, at least temporarily. The happiness we feel occurs when sugar prompts our brains to release serotonin and dopamine.
We all must understand that sugar is harmful because it can weaken our immune system and contribute to the onset of heart disease. And while overeating sugar does not necessarily cause type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, it contributes to weight gain, which can contribute to the onset of both lifestyle diseases. Therefore, to manage your type 2 diabetes and prevent prediabetes from becoming type 2 diabetes, managing your sugar intake can help you manage your health.
Proceed gradually. It’s easy to get conditioned to sugar. Wean yourself in baby steps. Put half as much sugar in your coffee or switch to a natural product like stevia that has no calories. Reduce portion sizes. Moderation is the key. You can still enjoy your favorite dessert but reduce your portion to a sliver of cake or a few squares of your favorite chocolate.
Avoid soda. Soft drinks are the worst offenders by far. A typical 12-ounce soda contains at least eight teaspoons of added sugar, which is more than the daily recommendation for women and kids. Instead drink more water. Dehydration can cause blood glucose to become concentrated, causing blood sugar spikes. When consumed properly, water can dilute the sugar in your blood. How much water you need will depend on your activity level, but a safe place to start is 15 cups or 120 ounces for men and 11 cups or 88 ounces for women; of course.
Limit your consumption of processed foods. Candy, cakes, and cookies account for a significant amount of sugar intake, but so do some foods you might not suspect. Sugar is added to everything from whole wheat bread to peanut butter. So become a label-reading expert. If the first ingredients listed are added sweeteners like sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, you may want to find something more nutritious food like powdered peanut butter. I love it and it doesn’t cause my blood sugar to spike like regular peanut butter.
One of the best ways to limit sugar intake is to cook more food at home and pack lunches and snacks. When you cook at home, you control the quality of the ingredients you use and your portions. You can reverse or successfully manage type 2 diabetes and prediabetes by becoming more mindful of the food you consume and choosing your favorite cardio activity to add to the day. You got this!
With Peace & Love,
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