Are you eating too much sugar – tips to reduce sugar intake
In this blog, Dr Rachel Hall holistic dentist shares her tips to cut down on sugar.
Sugar really isn’t good news for your dental health
You’re ‘sweet tooth’ can end up costing you greatly in terms of dental treatment, not to mention the list of other negative consequences of over-consumption.
An excess of sugar puts a strain on your liver increasing the fatty acids in your blood (which may be stored as fat) and it increases the chances of a number of metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes and heart disease). Not to mention it impacts on your sleep, concentration and energy levels.
The problem with sugar is that it’s not easy to moderate as it is highly addictive.
Dr Rachel Hall, a holistic dentist in Kenmore, offers her top 8 tips for cutting back on sugar without feeling like the joy is being taken out eating, addressing some of the challenges when it comes to long term lifestyle change.
8 Tips To Cut Down Sugar
1. Look at drinks first
Drinking sugar is often a habit rather than a necessity. The sugar in the tea and coffee, the fruity drink with lunch or the soft drink when socialising. If going without is particularly tough at first, look to cut down the amount of sugar gradually to allow a natural shift in your taste preference for it. For example, half the teaspoon of sugar going into your tea or use a smaller juice glass in the morning.
2. Find lower sugar substitutes of your favourite foods
Quite often there can be a big difference in sugar content between brands of the same food. Spending a little time researching and finding the ones that don’t have as much added sugar, shaves off a few grams that can make a difference if you’re eating these products daily.
3. Be mindful of total sugar (especially fructose)
Although fruits and natural sources of sugar have a nutritional benefit and are healthy in many respects, they are still sweet and you’re likely to still experience powerful cravings when excessively consuming them. Fructose, which is found in refined sugar and fruit sources is the more addictive part of sugar that we desire the most. To start managing your cravings, be mindful of the total amount of sweet food in your diet (including fruit), the quantities you’re consuming and how often you’re eating it.
4. Avoid hidden sugar
It goes without saying, avoid sugar that you don’t know you’re eating. Double check sauces, dressings, cereals, soups etc. Look to make your own where you can and cut back on processed foods as much as possible.
5. One thing at a time
When you first start looking to cut back on sugar and you realise you’re eating a lot of it, the whole prospect can be somewhat depressing. Start by making one change at a time. Small changes over time are more sustainable than a drastic all or nothing approach.
6. Consider your use of sugar
It’s very common for people to use sugar as a stress coping mechanism. It’s accessible, cheap, quick and easy. Take note if you’re consuming sugar in response to emotional hunger. Seek to build in other coping mechanisms that don’t involve sweet food e.g. meditation or something relaxing like a walk or a simple breathing exercise.
7. Embrace the savoury foods you love
To avoid the doom and gloom feeling of eating less sugar, embrace your favourite savoury foods in all their forms. Try new combinations of them, be more experimental with foods and try to enjoy the process of finding savoury alternatives that you really get excited about.
8. Work through social challenges
Often it’s the social side of sugar that be particularly challenging. The birthdays, weddings and numerous annual occasions that are closely associated with excessively sugary food. Seek to understand if you’re eating sugar because everyone else is, or if it’s closely tied to the joy you feel at these events and celebrations. Building awareness of your sugar habits in social situations is the first best step to adjusting them.
You can receive more tips on oral health and nutrition with this healthy white smile ebook from Dr Rachel Hall.