How to Cut Down on Sugar

Breaking Bad (Habits): Sugar Overload

Indulging in sweets every once in a while is a necessity, but regularly overloading on sugar can seriously hinder your health. Too much sugar has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. If we're talking weight loss, not only is sugar high in calories, but it also interferes with your ability to drop pounds since it replaces nutrient-rich food that your body needs. Even worse, studies have found that sugar may be as addictive as alcohol or cigarettes. If you find yourself constantly craving sweets and you're ready to take control, break this bad habit by taking some necessary steps.

Start cooking: When you dine out constantly, it's hard to know just how much sugar is really being added to your meals. While more restaurants than ever offer nutritional information — even McDonald's! — cooking at home is the best way to control what goes into your food. If you find yourself craving something decadent for dessert, find a healthier substitute. We suggest dried dates with nut butter and granola to top off your meal, but check out these other low-sugar desserts.

Rethink your drinks: Gulping down a sugar-laden soda offers no nutritional benefit to your body. There are 39 grams of sugar in a can of Coke. You may think that you're in the clear if you don't drink soda, but your Starbucks habit may need some revamping, especially if you go for a signature Fall drink like a Pumpkin Spice Latte, loaded with sugar. Luckily, you can find healthy substitutes for both. If you love soda, sip a seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice. If you're a lady who loves her lattes, try a chai tea with a splash of milk instead to get your fix of Fall flavor.

Keep reading for two more tips to break this bad habit.

Enjoy whole foods: If you're going to kick your sugar habit to the curb, you're going to have to retrain your taste buds. The good news is it will happen way quicker than you think! Loading up on healthy whole foods like whole grains, fruits, veggies, and legumes stops sugary cravings in their sticky tracks. It may be a struggle at first, but you'll be amazed at how quickly you're craving these foods that not only provide better nutrition, but will also satisfy you for far longer.

Stick to your food journal: A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight monitored their food intake by keeping a journal. When you take stock of everything you're eating, it forces you to look at your habits head on. Be sure to write down what emotions you're experiencing when you're jonesing for something sweet. It may be telling of how your relationship with sugar has developed over time.

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