Sugar Swaps for a Healthier Diet
Sugar swapping is an easy way to reduce sugar consumption for a healthier diet. Learn to identify areas where you can reduce your total sugar consumption.
“Excess sugar consumption can have long-term negative effects on your health, such as weight gain, blood sugar problems and increased risk of heart disease,” says Gregory J. Galbreath MD, a PIH Health Family Medicine physician.
Here are six sugar-swapping tips to keep in mind:
- Toss the table sugar. According to the American Heart Association, you should reduce the amount of sugar added to the foods and drinks you regularly consume like pancakes, cereal, coffee and tea. Start by using half of your usual serving of sweetener to let your taste buds adjust, and gradually wean down the serving from there.
- Avoid sauces with high amounts of sugar. Common dressings like ketchup, barbeque sauce, and sweet chili have shockingly high levels of sugar. Instead, try fresh or dried herbs and spices; pesto; fresh chili; vinegar; or yellow mustard.
- Add fruit. Use fresh fruit to accompany your oatmeal or cereal instead of topping them with sugar.
- Be aware of so-called healthy snacks. Steering away from donuts and cookies is a step in the right direction. Snacks like protein bars, granola bars and dried fruit are alternatives but can contain the same amount of sugar or more. Be sure to read the back label before you decide to purchase.
- Cut back the serving. When following a recipe, use less sugar than the amount listed. You can cut back the serving by a third or a half of what is called for and often times you won’t taste the difference.
- Try extracts. Use extracts like vanilla, almond orange or lemon to add flavor, instead of sugar.
“Reducing the amount of sugar consumed through your diet will likely increase your energy levels, improve your ability to focus and decrease inflammation along with many other lasting benefits,” added Dr. Galbreath.