Most of us love sweet drinks but before you turn to sweetened drinks like soda drinks, fruit juices, milkshakes, or sweetened black tea (or lemon tea), do consider drinking fluid without sugar. Water in itself is a great healthy refreshing drink without the calories, but you may feel bored drinking plain old water. Go for some healthy drinks that will refresh your day!
Well, back to the healthy debate:- why should we skip sugar for a healthy body?
Why quit sugar?
Sugar is the modern villain and scientific studies have proven that sugar, NOT fat, is the greatest danger to our heart, our blood pressure, and our bodies. For the past few decades, we had thought that oil and fats made us fat; we now discovered that its not fatty food, but sugar that made us fat.
Sugar is bad for our body
- sugar increases our blood pressure
- increase hypertension and heart diseases
- gain weight and get fat
- high glucose level, diabetes
- sugar damage our livers too
- cause high uric acid level
- sugar feeds cancerous cells
- cognitive diseases, Alzheimer’s disease
The good thing is sugar is not that hard to quit. The trick is not to give up all your sweet stuff at one go. Do it slowly instead.
Quit Sugar slowly
Your tongue and your body actually adapt to it. If you eat sweet food since childhood, you may find a donut or your cereal not sweet enough simply because your tongue is so used to sweet stuff.
Similarly, you can slowly train your tongue and tastes to get the same amount of sweetness with less sugar. You are not sacrificing any tastes in your food while increasing your health.
For example, if you are used to taking coffee or tea with 2 teaspoons of sugar, do it with 1 and a half teaspoon now, you may notice only a tiny drop in sweetness but still adaptable. After a few weeks or so, cut down to 1 teaspoon, and then eventually to half a teaspoon.
Discover new tastes as you cut down on the sweetness
For me, I managed to cut down to 0 teaspoons as I began to appreciate the finer subtle taste of the coffee and tea that I had covered up with sugar. That’s the extra bonus of cutting sugar: you discovered new tastes in your food! Coffee and tea is the easiest way to discover new tastes as you cut your sugar, but it does not end there. As you reduce sugar in your cakes, pastries, cooking recipes, you discover better and richer food tastes.
You will start to taste natural sweetness more too in your fruits, your meat, and bread. Its astonishing how much we are missing out because we have been using so much refined sugar in our processed food!
Here are 5 simple steps in reducing and cutting your sugar intake
- Stop all sugary drinks (soda, sweetened drinks etc)
- Reduce sweet snacks and junk food (donuts, chocolates etc)
- Reduce and cut simple carbohydrates (white bread, white rice etc)
- Read food labels and cut the hidden source of sugar
- Have a sugarless or sugar-lite life!
You may think it’s impossible to quit sugar simply because most, if not all, food items have sugar content. In truth, you can quit this addictive substance in 5 direct and doable steps:
STEP 1: Say Goodbye to Sugary Drinks
Did you know that you can drink up to 40 pounds worth of sugary beverages in one year? That’s 70,000 empty calories you could’ve done without! First, cut out the worst offender. This means, you have sipped your last soda. Next, eliminate your coffee or fruit juice habit. You might be surprised by how much money you save, too! It doesn’t mean you can only drink water. You can still enjoy unsweetened teas or coffee.
Some examples of refreshing drinks without sugar are:-
- plain water with a few slices of lemons. (or a few slices of fruits, such as apples, pears, etc)
- plain water with cucumbers (or other vegetables such as mint)
- water with a dash of apple cider vinegar, for that tangy, sourish taste
- tea with no sugar nor milk. (Chinese tea is a great beverage)
- coffee with no sugar nor milk
- plain water, but iced cold. Water may be boring, but if chilled coldly, it will be a nice change!
No guess for my own personal favorite, Chinese tea, brewed fresh. It is interesting that a hot cup of tea will refresh you even on a hot afternoon. My wife loves her Chinese tea cold though, and she will brew a thick pot of tea, and chill it with some ice cubes for a healthy afternoon.
STEP 2: Say Goodbye to Sweet Junk
We love these, but they are extremely bad for us, all types of candies, chocolates, cookies, cakes, and pastries. You may want to forgo granola or cereal bars, too. They may feature healthy ingredients but they hide a great amount of refined sugar. Here are some snacks that you can consider:-
Some Healthy snacks with no added sugar
- nuts like almonds, peanuts, cashew, walnuts, etc
- sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc
- fruits, all kinds
- healthy chips – tapioca chips, vegetable chips, etc
- broccoli with butter
STEP 3: Say Goodbye to Simple Carbs
You can also reduce your sugar by reducing simple carbs. Simple carbs or simple carbohydrates are highly processed, refined grain products such as
- white bread
- white rice
- white, refined flour products
. Yucks, that covers a huge amount of food that we love, such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, crackers, etc. No worries, just stick to the unrefined or unprocessed version such as
- brown bread
- brown rice
- the brown, mixed version
Unrefined versions such as brown pasta or brown bread are healthy as our bodies digest them slower and able to reduce the glucose intake. At the beginning, you may find brown pasta, brown bread or rice not as nice as the white version, but it is just merely you not getting used to it. If you adjust slowly and over time, you will prefer the homely tastes of brown pasta, brown bread and start to find simple white bread too plain and boring to eat!
STEP 4: Say Goodbye to Secret Sugars
If you want to go further, you may start reading food labels and discovering how much sugar is hidden in our food. A jar of nutella contains around 40% sugar! that’s huge amount of sugar.
You will realized that Mcdonald’s Big Mag contains less calories than their salads, not because lettuces are full of calories but because salad dressings are rich in calories, a lot of them from added sugar. Check out and use your condiments, ketchups sauces sparingly. Many of them contains tons of sugars to attract simple tastebuds. Go a little further and check food labels, I have enjoyed less sweet ketchup, less sweet salad dressing and other condiments since embarking on a healthier diet.
For most of my coffee and tea with milk and sugar, i have also adapted and cut down on sugar and milk. As an added bonus, I learnt that drinking tea helps lose weight!
STEP 5: Say Goodbye to Sugar
It’s okay to take a cheat day and enjoy sugary products every once in a while. You may want to avoid food items that will cause you to binge. If you can’t just have one small slice of cake, you may want to hold off longer before indulging. Save it for special occasions like your birthday.
It’s perfectly possible to kick your sugar addiction to the curb. All you need is discipline and realistic expectations! Enjoy your new healthier lifestyle.
Drink more Chinese tea to have a clean and healthy body. Look at rural East Asia countries such as China, Korea or Taiwan, the folks there drink a huge amount of brewed tea leaves and there are NO fat people there! 😀