The New Year is just around the corner and while most of us may heave a sigh of relief that 2020 will finally be over in a few weeks, it’s the right time to make resolutions as well. If you are someone who is trying to shed extra weight and get fit, and want to make it a part of your New Year resolution, along with following a healthy diet on Rati Beauty app, it’s time to make plans to cut back on sugar as well. Added sugar is probably the number #1 roadblock in anyone’s weight loss journey and that’s because it acts in multiple ways to facilitate weight gain. It spikes the hormone insulin, which not only regulates blood sugar, it also triggers fat storage. Additionally, sugar also raises inflammation in the body and puts you at a risk of developing life-threatening disorders. If you give it enough thought, giving up sugar can be the easiest and the toughest way to lose weight. All sugars, irrespective of whether they are from natural or added source, spike insulin response and can lead to potential weight gain, but then, natural sugars come bundled with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and do not spike up insulin steeply whereas white sugar or refined sugar is the biggest offender when it comes to adding calories without providing any nutritional benefit. Ice creams, candies, chocolates, cakes, cupcakes, are some obvious culprits, but some “safe” and “healthy” foods can also carry a lot of added sugar in them and sneak into our daily diet without us noticing. Since sugar is addictive in nature and triggers the pleasure center in our brain, it will take a lot of willpower to get rid of it completely, and it would be a better idea to eliminate these sources of added sugar one by one. Sugar is added in a great measure in processed food to make it flavourful, to appeal to the tastebuds, and make it more addictive to the palate. Think about it, carbs are not your enemy, sugar is! Apart from getting clearer skin, reducing the risk of life-threatening diseases, you can also lose oodles of weight just by cutting out sugar – you would be surprised how much weight you can shed just by cutting out added sugar. According to WHO dietary guidelines, one can have a maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar daily (in all forms, natural and added), but most of us consume way more than that, and a majority of it comes through added sugar without any nutritional benefit attached to it. That’s why, in this post, we have gone into detail on how to cut back on added sugar to lose weight.
Why Sugar is Not Good for Weight Loss?
Excess sugar triggers a lot of undesirable chemical effects such as headache, hormonal changes, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. If there is an excess amount of sugar in your blood, your body will convert excess sugar into glycogen or fat. Refined sugar is insanely high in calories with zero nutritional benefit to the body. These calories are called “empty calories” because they hardly provide any nourishment in terms of vitamins or minerals to the cells. Refined sugar is added with various names such as sucrose, disaccharide, glucose, and fructose in jams, coals, aerated beverages, muffins, biscuits, cookies, bread, cakes, etc, just to name a few in processed food. Refined sugar/added sugar can quickly spike up blood sugar in the body and that’s when the “feel good” factor sets in, but then the drop in blood sugar levels after the initial spike will drain out your energy. The biggest issue is when the body converts the excess sugar into fat and stores around the belly, under the skin, and around the organs. This is exactly what leads to weight gain and that’s where the importance of cutting down sugar comes into play if you want to seriously lose weight.
How to Cut Back on Added Sugar to Lose Weight?
As we have mentioned previously too, the biggest benefit of cutting down on added sugar is weight loss! Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body, but it is also a fat-storage hormone which helps the body to store fat predominantly in the belly region. Once you go without sugar for 15 days, along with regular exercise and dieting, you can see significant weight loss. Even if you are adding up just one or two spoons of white sugar in your tea or coffee, studies say, on an average, a person can consume up to 20 teaspoons each day through other sources! If this amount of sugar makes into your diet on a daily basis, you are at a high risk of developing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and also heart disease, and of course obesity. So, we are going to tell you how sneaky ways sugar is getting into your food and how to cut back on sneaky added sugars to lose weight. It is important to identify the sources of unnecessary sugars in your diet and figure how to cut them out.
Added sugar can be found is found in cupcakes, candies, chocolates, etc., but sugar isn’t always presented, in its simple form in processed foods. It’s extremely important to look at the ingredient list of packaged food to figure out how much extra sugar is added. Look out for these names in ingredients list. Here are some common food items where you can find hidden sugars:
1. Breads including Multigrain Bread.
2. Tomato Sauce/Ketchup.
3. Flavoured yogurt
4. Peanut butter
5. Granola Bars
6. Packaged Cereal
7. Candied fruits
8. Canned fruits
9. Salad dressings
10. Fruit juices
11. Diet Soda
12. Energy drinks
13. Protein bars
14. Sweet honey popcorn
15. Cheese crackers
16. Soft drinks
17. Flavoured Coffee Drinks
18. Low-Fat Food
How to Cut Back on Sneaky Added Sugar:
1. Say no to “Low-Fat” and “Fat Free” Processed Food: When fat content is ripped from food, it usually makes it bland and tasteless. To appeal to the tastebuds of consumers, companies add heaps of sugar, refined carbs, salt, emulsifiers, and thickeners which add high amount of calories to the body. Such a tendency defeats the whole purpose where one is actually going “low fat” to lose weight. Most food items that are marketed as “low fat” and “fat free” replace fat content with loads of sugar that get stored as fat in the body, particularly, around the waist, resulting in belly fat. Consciously eating a low-fat diet also means you are not providing the body with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. So, choose healthy fats over “fat free and low fat” food.
2. Pick Stuff that says “No Added Sugar”: While grocery shopping, make a conscious effort to look for items that say “no added sugar.” These would mostly have just have sugars in their natural form.
3. Say no to Canned Fruit: Fruits dipped in sugary syrup are not at all healthy, they can in fact be detrimental to health and quickly pile on calories. Also, they no longer carry the nutritional value, so totally avoid them.
4. Read the Ingredients List: If sugar is second or third on the ingredients list (sucrose, disaccharide, glucose, and fructose are some commonly used names), don’t add it to your cart.
5. Chew on Fennel Seeds: When the sugar cravings hit hard, chew on fennel seeds that not only help curb sweet cravings, they can curb appetite, and help reduce bloating as well.
6. Don’t Eat from Packaged Cereal Boxes: Though it may look as a healthy breakfast, some of the packaged cereal boxes are the most unhealthiest breakfast options that you can start your day with because they have loads of sugar, in different forms, that spike up your insulin, and trigger hunger pangs through the day. Start your day with traditional Indian breakfast such as idli, dosa, poha, paratha to start your day on a healthy note.
7. Make your own ketchup: French fries and ketchup are a match made in food heaven, but then they are full of calories, and we are looking at store-bought ketchup here, which can have up to 4 gm of sugar per tbsp and a higher amount of sodium. Make your own tomato ketchup and make sure you do not add any extra sugar.
9. Brew your own coffee: Readymade coffee drinks can seem like a great morning “pick me up” to kickstart your day, however, with the loads of added sugar in just one cup of readymade coffee, they are a sureshot way to gain weight.
10. Buy No Added Sugar Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is no doubt a healthy option, but only when it has the “no added” sugar to it. The safest way to get a good amount of protein without the added sugar is by roasting the peanuts and making your own butter!
11. Flavoured Oats are not the Same as Whole Oats: A lot of us do not find oats appetizing and that’s why a lot of companies add sugar, sodium, and other flavours to make it more palatable. Opt for plain oats and make it flavourful by adding fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.
12. Cook your own food: It’s easy to order food from outside, but to appeal to the palate, food available in most of the restaurants add a lot of sugar, and other high-calorie flavours. Meal prep and make delicious diet food at home, follow Rati Beauty weekly diets on the app for more details.
13. Say no to Energy and Sweetened Drinks: They have the highest amount of added sugar, so keep away from them.
15. Pick Granola and Protein Bars with Caution: Most often, they are packed with unnecessary added sugars, and have hidden sugars in them.
A Word on Artificial Sweeteners: As more and more research is conducted on artificial sweeteners, a lot and not all sweeteners have been linked to weight gain, so just stick to Healthy Replacements of Sugar such as these.
Why Sugar is Fattening
30 Daily Foods that contain Sugar