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Tips for Limiting Added Sugars

March is National Nutrition Month, a time dedicated to promoting healthy eating habits and raising awareness about the importance of nutrition in our everyday lives.

Let's focus on one crucial aspect of our diets: limiting added sugars. By reducing our intake of added sugars, we can improve our overall health and well-being. Here are some tips to help you embrace a lower sugar lifestyle this National Nutrition Month.

1. Educate Yourself on Added Sugars

Start by understanding what added sugars are and how they can affect your health. Added sugars are extra sugars that food manufacturers add to products during processing or preparation. They provide little nutritional value and can contribute to health problems like weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Become familiar with the various names for added sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, and corn syrup, to identify them on food labels.

2. Read Food Labels

Make it a habit to read food labels before purchasing any packaged or processed foods. Look for products with little to no added sugars. Keep in mind that some products may contain natural sugars, like those found in fruits and dairy, which are not a cause for concern. Focus on reducing added sugars in your diet by choosing foods that are naturally low in sugar and high in nutrients.

3. Opt for Whole Foods

Base your meals around whole, unprocessed foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods are naturally lower in sugar and provide essential nutrients and fibre. By choosing whole foods, you can decrease your reliance on processed foods that often contain hidden sugars. Experiment with different recipes and cooking techniques to make healthy, flavourful meals using whole ingredients.

4. Cook and Bake at Home

Preparing your meals and snacks at home gives you control over the ingredients you use. Choose homemade versions of your favourite foods and beverages to limit the amount of added sugars. Use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or dates to add sweetness when necessary, and reduce the amount compared to what the recipe calls for.

5. Minimise Sugary Drinks

Sugary beverages are a significant contributor to our daily added sugar intake. Replace soda, energy drinks, and sugary juices with healthier options like water or herbal tea. If you enjoy flavoured drinks, infuse water with fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs to add a hint of flavour without the added sugars. By eliminating sugary drinks from your routine, you can make a considerable difference in your overall sugar consumption.

6. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Naturally

When you have a craving for something sweet, turn to nature's own sweet treats. Snack on fresh fruits like berries, oranges, or sliced apples. Make homemade smoothies with fruits and vegetables for a nutritious and naturally sweet snack. If you want to indulge in something a bit more decadent, reach for a piece of dark chocolate, which contains less sugar than milk chocolate but still offers a satisfying flavour.

7. Gradually Reduce Sugar Intake

Changing your eating habits takes time, so don't feel discouraged if it's challenging to eliminate added sugars completely. Start by gradually reducing sugar intake in small steps. For example, cut back on the amount of sugar you add to your morning coffee or tea. Replace sugary cereals with whole grain options that have less added sugar. Make it a point to find lower-sugar alternatives for your favourite snacks.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can make progress in reducing your added sugar intake and improving your overall nutrition. National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to take charge of your health and commit to making healthier choices. Your body will thank you for it!

Remember, if you have any specific dietary concerns or medical conditions, it's always wise to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet.



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