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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Tips to Eat Less Sugar

Nov 30, 2021 07:30AM ● By Christy Ratliff
Collage of low- or no-sugar dishes and supplements

Marilyn Barbone; Maxim Khytra; Brent Hofacker; Ronstik/

Chef and dietitian nutritionist Ricardo Díaz:

Swap out fruit juice cocktails and fruit juice concentrates for whole fruits and 100 percent fruit juice. Fruit beverages rely on added sugar to provide much of their sweetness.

Choose whole grains over enriched grains. Include a variety of whole grains in your diet, such as oats, brown rice or whole-wheat pastas and breads.

To maximize fiber intake, pick products labeled “100% Whole Grains” over labels stating “Whole Grains” or “Multigrain”.

Make your own baked goods. Besides controlling the amount of sugar in your treats, baking at home is a great way to get your youngest family members involved in cooking.

Shelley Maniscalco, MPH, RD:

Eat fruit. Most are naturally sweet and provide healthy nutrients without a lot of calories. As an added bonus, the fiber and water content in fruit helps with feeling satiated.

Add spices and fresh herbs. Studies show that adding them enhances flavor, and it also lowers the use of such unhealthy nutrients as added sugars, sodium and saturated fats.

Colleen Tewksbury, Ph.D., RD:

Choose plain yogurt, as it contains no added sugar. Top it with fresh fruit, cinnamon or nuts. Choose yogurt that contains live and active cultures, as these promote gut health and boost immunity.

Nearly a quarter of added sugars consumed come from sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and fruit drinks, even more than from desserts and sweets. A simple way of reducing added sugar is reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages. Three approaches are: setting a frequency goal (limit to x times per week); setting a portion goal (limit to x ounces per day); or setting a substitution goal (replace sugar-sweetened beverages with sugar-free options). 

Jennifer Martin-Biggers, Ph.D., RDN:

To reduce sugar intake, as with any other new habit or behavior change, it’s important to set manageable goals and set new ones as you go. 

Another way to support dietary changes is through supplementation. The mineral chromium, in particular in the form of chromium picolinate, has been shown in clinical studies to reduce food cravings.

Film Suggestion:

Watch That Sugar Film, a 2014 Australian documentary/drama directed by Damon Gameau. According to New York Times film critic Daniel M. Gold, “The food-doc shelf is crowded with good-for-you movies, including Fed Up, Fast Food Nation, Food Inc. and, yes, Super Size Me. That Sugar Film is a worthy addition, entertaining while informing.”


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