9 Simple Ways to Cut Back On Sugar
Trying to figure out how to eat less sugar? Check out these 9 simple tips to lower your sugar intake while keeping your diet delicious.
1. Pick Low-Sugar Drinks
If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, start by sticking to Simple drinks. It’s easy to spot the infamous high-sugar drinks these days -- sodas, energy drinks, and sugar-filled artificial fruit juices. However, there are still many high-sugar drinks out there that are marketed as “healthy,” which makes it hard to differentiate what you should and shouldn’t be drinking. Smoothies and fruit juices are the biggest culprits, so be careful when purchasing these drinks and choose wisely.
Our advice to you? Stick to drinks with an unprocessed, water base and minimal ingredients. We love our all-natural and organic Drink Simple maple water because it’s loaded with extra nutrients and electrolytes while still being low-sugar and low-calorie -- in fact, it has half the sugar of coconut water! From tree to bottle, this pure and refreshing water is a slightly sweet and revitalizing way to cut back on sugar while hydrating with mother nature’s best.
Check out our favorite low-sugar and no-sugar drink suggestions:
- Water: Zero sugar, zero calories, and free.
- Maple water: 46 nutrients, from mother nature to you.
- Infused water: Add some citrus and mint to a pitcher of ice water for a sweet and refreshing drink.
- Tea: Herbal, fruit, or black tea. Keep it unsweetened, or add a touch of natural sweetener such as honey.
- Coffee: Keep it black, or with a touch of unsweetened plant milk.
2. Beware Of Hyper-Processed “Natural” Sweeteners
If you’re looking to achieve better health by cutting back on sugar, then you also need to cut back on processed sweeteners as well. Many trending food companies now use hyper-processed sweeteners in place of refined sugars, but the reality is that most of these sweeteners have to undergo heavy processing in order to become the product that is sold on shelves and put into your foods.
Hyper-processed sweeteners that we like to avoid include:
- Monk fruit
3. Stay Away From Sugar-Packed Desserts
We love dessert -- who doesn’t? The simple truth is that most desserts are highly processed and packed with loads of sugar, which end up causing blood sugar spikes and leaving you hungry and craving more.
Try making homemade desserts with wholesome and natural ingredients, or try one of our dessert swaps below:
- Organic fresh fruit: Sweet, delicious, natural, and packed with vitamins.
- Baked fruit with honey: We recommend grapefruit, pears or peaches. Top with a few scoops of your favorite almond milk yogurt for a creamy treat, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Dark chocolate: Stick to 70% cocoa or higher for maximum antioxidant benefits.
- Fresh fruit ice pops: Make homemade ice pops with your favorite fresh fruit for a sweet treat this summer. You might want to check out these Strawberry Maple Water Popsicles!
- Chia pudding: Skip the ice cream and whip up this 5-ingredient Mint Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe.
4. Eat Full & Healthy Fats
With the rise of low-fat foods has come the rise of high-sugar foods. In order to compensate for the compromised taste of low-fat foods, food companies typically increase the sugar count to make low-fat foods “taste better.” The result? You may slash your fat intake a little, but you end up consuming much more sugar than you realize -- when you would actually be better off eating the full-fat version with less sugar.
Stick to full-fat options, but try to consume healthy fats such as the following:
- Nuts and nut butters
- Chia seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
5. Consume Only Whole Foods
Ditch the processed, refined and artificial foods, and replace them with whole foods -- foods that are free of refined sugar, excess salt, or any ingredient that you would not use when cooking at home. If you are looking to cut back on sugar, pick ingredients that are pure, natural, and simple.
Start making home-cooked meals more often, and use only whole food ingredients with natural spices and fats such as the following:
- Whole vegetables and grains: Leafy greens and colorful veggies are the way to go. Look for whole grain sources such as oats, chia and flax seeds.
- Natural spices: Turmeric, cayenne, garlic, ginger, rosemary, cumin and sage are great options to spice up delicious and flavorful meals.
- Healthy fats: Try to stick to whole fat sources such as olive oil and pure nut butters.
6. Ditch The Not-So-Healthy “Healthy” Snacks
We’ve all been there before -- you know well enough to cut out processed cookies, cakes, and sweets, so you reach for a so-called “healthy” snack at the market. The problem is, many “healthy” snacks, such as protein bars, dried fruit, cereals, and protein cookies happen to contain just as much (if not more) sugars as their “unhealthy” counterparts! If a snack seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Pick snacks with ingredients that you recognize as whole, clean foods.
Below is a list of some of our go-to clean-eating snacks:
- Fresh fruit: You can never go wrong with a fresh bowl of your favorite fruit. Switch up your fruit bowl to keep things exciting!
- Beanfields Bean Chips: An addicting chip made with clean ingredients and bold favors.
- Health Warrior Chia Bars: Organic superfood bars made with wholesome ingredients.
7. Read The Labels
As a rule of thumb, don’t eat foods with ingredients you can’t read. Food manufacturers sneak sugars into your unsuspecting food labels without you recognizing them by using a variety of different names that you may not recognize as sugar.
Some sneaky sugar examples to avoid include:
- Cane sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Rice sugar
8. Natural Sweeteners Are The Way To Go
Craving sweets is natural, and we’re all about giving in to those cravings -- by choosing natural sweeteners. Avoid refined sugars, and when you need to sweeten up that smoothie or oatmeal bowl, reach for a natural, whole food sweetener that won’t give you a crazy blood sugar spike and crash.
Consider swapping out refined sugars for natural sweeteners such as:
- Real maple syrup
- Raw honey
- Agave nectar
- Organic medjool dates
9. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Sleep is crucial to your overall health. When you do not get enough rest, your body begins to deteriorate, and you are more likely to engage in poor eating habits. Lack of sleep has been linked with the increased consumption of saturated fats, high-calorie processed foods, and sugar. If you are looking to cut back on your sugar intake -- tune in with your body and get yourself a consistent good night’s sleep.
Below are a few tips to try if you need help getting that extra shut eye at night:
Written by Lauren Kelly Bienko