When you’re trying to lose weight and move down the size chart in your closet, it can be especially tough if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but you might be surprised to learn that even some savory foods contain an awful lot of sugar. Finding the sugary culprits in your home and eliminating them, or at the very least cutting back to a healthy amount can make a big difference in how quickly you’ll begin to see a difference in your body. Of course, it’s much easier to say that you’ll cut down on sugar and another thing entirely to make the effort to kick this bad eating habit to the curb. For a few ideas on ways that you can begin leaving your cravings behind, read on below.
Cut The Junk
This might be a pretty obvious move when it comes time to cut fat and lose pounds, but not everybody knows what “junk” is. Sure, chocolate, chips and ice cream have to go, but what about all of those delicious savory prepackaged foods, microwavable pizzas, chicken fingers, bacon, and even some deli meats are full of far more sugar and fillers than you know of. Out of all of these sugary culprits, perhaps the worst of all is the fizzy soda and energy drink beverages now on the market. Jessica Girdwain of Women’s Health Magazine writes:
One of the most common (and vilified) forms of sugar is high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, a potent, cheap-to-produce sweetener found in soda and other packaged foods.
High-fructose corn syrup might give you the idea that it has some healthy properties, but unlike its far distant cousin, corn, this syrup is genetically modified and chemically altered to be a sickeningly sweet, which is the diabetic’s worst nightmare. This will raise your blood sugar levels like you wouldn’t believe it, and give your body a serious injection of everything it needs to hoard fat and add weight where you don’t want it. Start clearing your cupboards at home of anything that lists this in the ingredients, and stay away from the prepackaged treats and snacks, except once in a while as a special treat.
Be Wary Of Condiments
Believe it or not, one place that many dieters go wrong is by including their beloved condiments in the food items that they allow themselves. It might only seem like a simple squirt of honey mustard, or a light layer of mayo, but many of these products are loaded with fat, and some of the seasonings have sugary additives that aren’t doing your weight loss meal plan any favors. Kari Hartel of Fitday explains:
Generally, your best bets for low-sugar condiments include mustard (yellow and Dijon are low in sugar, but watch out for honey mustards), light mayonnaise, hot sauce, fat-free plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, fresh salsa (not jarred), horseradish and dill pickle relish.
As mentioned above, you don’t have to kick your condiment habit completely; you can make the switch from full fat mayo to light, and go with homemade salsa over the sugary jarred concoctions that you find on grocery store shelves. In fact, making your own condiments at home might add time to your meal prep, but it will shave off a huge number of unnecessary calories that you don’t need. You can also try a few of the foods that you normally load down with layers of sauces on their own and see what you think. Many times, the creams and sauces you add to your food aren’t complimenting them, but masking their natural flavors instead. You could be completely surprised to find out just how much you enjoy a sandwich without all of that extra stuff.
Be Mindful Of Carbohydrates
This is something that comes up in fad diets a lot, and while it’s really not a good idea to cut carbohydrates out of your diet completely, there are some things that you should be wary of. There are two kinds of carbs out there, the good carbs or complex carbs and the bad ones or simple carbs. Simple carbs come in the form of refined sugar, white pasta, and white bread, while whole wheat and brown alternatives can still give your body the energy that it needs without infusing it with additional sugars that will sit around and turn into fat. Nicole Avena of mindbodygreen.com suggests:
Both simple and complex carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can detract from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates.
Choose your side dishes wisely, and think about making a few switches to your daily means. Choosing a nice bright piece of fruit over a slice of white toast can give you a healthy and natural dose of sugar that your body will be able to burn rather than store for later.
Organic Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy
Be especially watchful over the labels of organic and “all natural” foods, because this doesn’t always mean that it’s necessarily good for your body. There could be some great ingredients in a product, but if there are added fats and sugars involved, you can do without it. Tapp Francke Ingolia of Intent Blog states:
Even the good organic yogurts have between 20 and 30 grams of sugar per serving. The yogurts marketed to kids have even more. If a yogurt has 30 grams of sugar that is equivalent to 7.5 teaspoons of sugar.
This is the same of many cereals that claim to be organic, healthy alternatives to the usual sugary breakfasts that children crave. Even a seemingly harmless bowl of granola in a proper serving amount can be bad for you if it’s coated in some sugary honey substance. Sweetened snacks and meals that aren’t sweet through the natural order of things the way that fruit is usually won’t be helpful in your journey to fitness. Use strategic thinking and keep your end goal in mind if you want to stick to your meal plan and keep those unhealthy sugars out of your diet.