Have you or someone you know ever experienced something like this; You have been following this healthy diet for months now, you’re cutting out sugar and you think everything seems to be going great, until you step on the scale or take some pictures of yourself and see that nothing has really changed?
Staying away from sugar is so important for our health and for people who’re concerned about gaining weight. A lot of people do a really good job of trying to do so, but unfortunately, we don’t fully realize the amount of sugar we’re still consuming on a daily basis. This is caused by foods and products that really shouldn’t contain sugar but do anyway. Or simply, that we are unaware of what nutrients your food contains. Whatever it is, it’s time to put an end to it, so you can actually enjoy and experience a healthy lifestyle.
Saying that you’re going to cut sugar out of your life is a lot harder than we anticipate. So many products are highly processed and contain a lot of sugar. Take a product like yoghurt for example, I know a lot of people who like to eat it on a daily basis ( I know I do), but do you know how much sugar 100 grams of yoghurt contains? I can tell you that it’s a lot more than you would think (about 5-10 grams per 100 grams). That might not sound like a ton to some of you but if you think about that yoghurt is just a snack for most people, it’s a lot. Add 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day and you’re already consuming over 50-60 grams of sugar a day, that’s just one snack and some fruit. Imagine what your sugar intake looks like after adding in your breakfast, lunch and dinner, now think about that it probably looks like that without you realizing it.
So how do you actually stay away from sugar?
Less fruit, more veggies
This might be very contradictive to what you have heard in the past, but just because fruit offers a variety of micronutrients and vitamins doesn’t mean that the sugars they provide are less ”damaging”. Yes, you much rather eat different fruits than ice cream, but that’s mainly because of the micronutrient and vitamins that fruit provides. Eat one or two pieces of fruit a day and consider eating more vegetables, because vegetables provide us with so many different nutrients without the all the sugars.
Make smart choices, take responsibility
Just because the world is not making it easy on us to cut out most sugars doesn’t mean that it’s an acceptable excuse when you really care about your health and weight. At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with the choices you make. Doing research and reading the back of a label in the supermarket go a long way. Yes, that might translate into saying no to some of your favorite products and food items, remember that there are plenty of healthier options out there for whatever foods you enjoy. That’s also a reason why cheat meals were invented.
Eat whole foods
It seems like I am bringing this up every time I write a nutrition-based blog, but that is how important this point is. Whole foods are unprocessed foods that are generally very low in sugar while providing A LOT of micronutrients and vitamins. Yes, fruit belong to the whole foods group but we covered that earlier. Whole foods include vegetables, meats, fish, check out the list down below.
- Fruits:Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
- Vegetables:Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
- proteins:chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, seafood/fish etc. (preferably grass-fed and wild caught)
- Starchy vegetables:Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
- Whole grains:Brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc.
- Healthy fats:Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
- Legumes:Peas, chick peas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
- Seeds, nuts and nut butters:Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
- Unsweetened plant-based milks:Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
- Spices, herbs and seasonings:Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
- Condiments:Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
- Plant-based protein:Tofu, tempeh, plant-based protein sources or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
Eat more fat and protein
You can’t just cut out the sugar and not replace it with something because there will be a hole in your nutrition. Instead, replace it with foods and nutrients that are going to benefit your health through the day, weeks, months and years. You could choose to fill that void by eating more veggies, sweet potatoes and rice but I am a big fan of sustainable energy sources like avocados, peanut butter and cheese. We also want to up our protein intake because it helps us to keep our muscles healthy and maintain the mass we have.
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