November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a disease that affects 30 million Americans with 90% of cases diagnosed as Type 2. The main culprit that is making diabetes the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. is added sugars. However, cutting back on sugar combined with regular physical activity (3 times a week or more) can reduce your risk of developing diabetes later on in your life. Here’s how you can weed out extra sugar from your diet.
Ditch The Table Sugar
It may help your morning cup of coffee go down smoother, but an over reliance on this sweet ingredient can have a detrimental effect on your long-term health. When it comes to white, granulated sugar, the calories can add up quickly. Each teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories. Yet, the average American ingests 42.5 teaspoons per day on average—that’s 680 calories! Further, nutritionists recommend that 10% of our diet should include sugar, which is only 200 calories (based off a 2,000 calorie diet).
However, the good news is you can make choices today that will drastically cut down on your sugar intake. Start with ditching any table sugar. Since it’s easier to grab, it may be more tempting to add it to your meals. If you must have a sweetener of some sort, swap sugar for natural sugars like stevia.
Swap Sugary Drinks For Healthier Choices
Sugary drinks such as soda, energy drinks or sweet tea are one of the biggest ways added sugars can creep into your diet. The average 12 fl oz can of soda has 39 grams of sugar, which is 9.75 tsp of sugar or 156 calories. One can of soda makes up almost all of the recommended sugar intake in the average diet.
You can eliminate a large portion of added sugars from your diet by cutting back or cutting out sugary drinks entirely. However, don’t run to “diet” drinks instead as they contain harmful additives like aspartame which can cause health problems as well. Instead, swap them out for water. Add a lemon and lime if you prefer a flavor or try adding in sparkling water if you want to emulate the soda “bubble” experience without the sugar or calories.
Snack on Fruit Instead of Sugar-Filled Snacks
Added sugars do not only derail good health, but sugary snacks like candy bars or cookies are guilty of being filled with “empty calories”, which can leave you still hungry even a few minutes after consumption. On the other hand, fruit is a healthier, natural snack that not only contains natural sugars, but fiber, vitamins and protein which help you feel full longer.
If you want to stock up on filling fruit instead of unsatisfying snack foods, stick with fruits that are high in fiber, such as:
At Community Access Network, we are more than just an urgent care facility, we are a health resource to you and your family! If you have questions or want nutritional recommendations, stop by or schedule an appointment, or call us to learn more about our Diabetes Support Group, which meets routinely and offers up real, applicable ways to cut back on sugar.