The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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In all areas of the world sugar often plays a lead role in the human diet. In America sugar is especially over-consumed with the average individual consuming over 100 pounds of sugar each year. It’s not wonder that increasing levels of research connect the consumption of the simple sugar glucose with obesity and chronic health issues ranging from diabetes to heart disease. However, with the right approach, you can break free of the sugar trap and increase both your health and quality of life.

Start in the Morning

When tackling sugar consumption, many people need to look at how they start their day with coffee. Strive to build a tolerance to plain black coffee if you need your morning coffee fix and make your own whenever possible. Most specialty drinks at your local coffee shop contain substantially more sugar than one you pour from your own coffee pot. And you can add sugar-free syrups like Monin to keep the sweet taste without the calories.

Educate Yourself

Reading labels is essential when trying to kick the sugar habit. The ingredient list starts with items that make up the highest percentage of the food and continue downward. Sadly, you may be surprised at how many of your favorite products list sugar as one of the top three ingredients including under the hidden names for sugar, such as sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, galactose, honey, maple syrup, molasses, or corn syrups.

Add Flavor

Don’t think of cutting sugar as removing flavor, but an opportunity to discover new flavors. Replace sugar with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and chili powders to keep your taste buds satisfied without the sweet kick.

Find Alternatives

When your sugar tolerance has built over a long period of time, alternative sweeteners like stevia and sugar-free syrups may be helpful to fill the gap as you clean out your system. Naturally sweet items like dates, figs, berries and other fruits also help but provide not only the sweetness you’re craving, but added nutrients and fiber as well.

Add Exercise

If you use sugar less for flavor and more for the sugar rush of energy, experiment with other natural energy boosters instead. For example, take short office walk when you hit the energy wall at work to boost your norepinephrine and dopamine, or start your day at the gym instead of going through the coffee drive thru.
Regardless of what methods you choose to reduce your sugar intake, make sure you start slow and don’t give up. Like other habits, it takes time to break into your new routine, but it will be more than worth it in the end.

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