Excessive sugar in your diet can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity – and all too often, we don’t even realize how much sugar we are actually consuming. As a daily rule, those consuming about 2,000 to 2,500 calories should not consume more than 25 -38 grams of sugar – which amounts to around 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. (Consider this: the average American consumes 82 grams – nearly 20 teaspoons – every day!)
There are many small adjustments to your daily diet that can drastically reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
-Most of your daily sugars should come from fruit. When you feel a craving coming on, attempt to satisfy your sweet tooth with a ripe banana or grapes first.
-Eat consistently throughout the day. Stave of hunger by maintaining a steady diet of small, protein-rich meals. When we feel starving, we are more likely to reach for snack or fast foods laden with preservatives, sodium, and of course – sugar.
-Most sugar can be found within packaged foods. While it is always best to stick to whole foods as much as possible, be sure to read the sugar content on the labels of processed foods, and opt for sugar-free when you can.
-Increase your water intake. All too often we mistake our thirst for hunger! Stay hydrated!
-Don’t quit sugar cold turkey. Instead, aim to gradually decrease your sugar intake over time to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Sugar is highly addictive, so you are likely to feel the sting if you eliminate it completely and all at once! Try cutting back the amount of sweetener or sugar in your coffee over several weeks, for example. (A pinch of cinnamon or other spices might prove to be a worthy substitute for sugar.)
-Don’t deprive yourself – just cut it in half! Portion control can greatly reduce your sugar intake. Rather than deny yourself a sweet treat, cut in half and go from there, or keep a piece of dark chocolate around for that quick fix.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, that provides free medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist. The Free Clinic serves uninsured adults living at or below 200 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw or James Islands. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.