I want to share with you some of the tips, tricks, and tactics that work to keep your energy up, your heart strong, and your health where you want it. Sugar-proof your health and home with the tips in this article:
- Why is sugar so bad for you?
- What are other names for sugar?
- Where can you find hidden sweeteners?
- Are alternative sweeteners good for you?
- 51 ways to eat less sugar.
Why Is Sugar So Bad For You?
In putting together a fully science based recipe guide to eating for total heath, from your skin to your bones, the Resync team has pored over the research on what it takes for optimal connective tissue health.
We can tell you from research and experience that too much sugar is a culprit in painful joints, injury-prone tendons, weakened bones, along with all the other negative effects you probably already know about like diabetes, hypertension, neurological issues, and the epidemic nobody is talking about: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD for short).
Let me give you an example.
I will always remember a particular NFL athlete I was working with several years ago. Here is why: he had huge promise for the team as a very valuable wide receiver, but his main macronutrient started with capital S - Sugar!!!
The way he ate created massive roadblocks for himself and injuries became his best friend. In training camp, his injuries started with one tendon, which then devolved into a cycle of injuries ー ACL, MLC and PCL, he had them all. There could have been emotional or psychological contributors to his habits, yes, but it was his choices that led to his injuries.
He didn’t apply the diet recommendations I shared with him, he didn't reach out to the team RD, he didn’t heed the warnings. He spent so much time injured that seasons started to get underway, and still in his rookie contract he was cut from the team.
You can have all the talent in the world, you can be super athletic, physiologically gifted even, but if you don't take care of the number one priority ー your health ー your body will break down and your talent will be wasted.
That “sweet tooth” is so dear to some of us that it leads to other not-so-sweet repercussions, and it definitely does not lead us to sweet health. On the contrary, it generates sour, lasting physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
Whether you want to lower your sugar intake down to the USDA recommended “less than 10% of calories” ー ie. 50 grams, 7 teaspoons, that’s a 16oz coke ー or if you want to really take back your health and get rid of sugar altogether, we have you covered. Anything to lower the average yearly intake of 100 pounds will absolutely help the health of America as a whole!
Here’s our list of ideas to eat less sugar:
- Set up a strategy. Start with finding what works for you on this list, and be consistent. It’s pretty amazing how much you can do when the cycle of positive change reinforces the positive choices you want to make in your life.
- Eat your healthy fats and protein first, they’ll make you full faster and signal your brain to stop eating sooner.
- Take a ten minute pause. Next time you have a sugar craving, pour yourself a glass of water and wait to make a decision until you’ve taken a 10 minute pause.
- Put a bowl of fruit out, instead of candy. Keep in mind that some types of fruit are better than others when it comes to glycemic index and sugar content. But all fruit is better than refined sugar thanks to the healthy polyphenol antioxidants, the vitamins and minerals, and the water and fiber content that can help quench your hunger and support your health.
- Drink soda water with Resync Recovery or Resync Collagen instead of soda. The pleasantly sweet passion fruit flavor of Resync products can help satisfy that sweet tooth while providing a heart healthy, joint healthy boost to your day.
- Buy dark chocolate instead of candy (75% or more). Extra dark chocolate is a concentrated source of antioxidant polyphenols, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats plus you’ll reach a point of not wanting more before getting too much sugar.
- Avoid “low-fat” foods that have added back those calories (and more) in the form of sugar.
- Watch out for the commercials. Especially for kids, the misleading advertising on TV wires your subconscious to reach for the sugar instead of choosing your health. If you really want to “gimme a break” or “taste the feeling”, try a Resync beverage that actually “really satisfies” and delivers clean ingredients.
- Don’t keep sugary foods in your pantry. It seems obvious, but making it inconvenient to get that sugar-fix can help you eat less. Peeling fruit is pretty easy, but requires a lot more work than eating candy.
- Try whole grains instead of refined grains. Although fast carbs and white carbs don’t contain simple sugar, they cause a sugar spike in your blood that can not only leave you fatigued later, but also contribute to eating more. Whole grains aren’t necessarily the ideal solution, but they can be part of your initial strategy.
- Enhance flavor in other ways. Safe non-nutritive sweeteners (covered below) and flavorful extracts like vanilla, almond, or other extracts can help retain a great flavor without the empty and costly calories.
- Add more healthy fats and proteins to the sugary foods you eat. This is more along the lines of damage control, but fats and proteins can make you full faster and keep you satiated longer. Consider this as an initial transition method.
- Enjoy, don’t gorge, your sugary desserts. Even though processed foods can make you crave more by hijacking the pleasure and reward centers in your brain, if you can eat your dessert slowly, savoring every bite, you might find that you eat less. Limiting your dessert to maybe weekend can be an effective way to limit them in your life journey.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry or angry. We all know how that goes, right? Least nutritious produce somehow lands in our shopping baskets. So don’t shop on an empty stomach, or when you feel emotional. It’s a setup for a sugar disaster.
- Go to sleep earlier. Staying up late, and especially blue-light filled screen time, may wire your brain to think that it’s always summer, and it’s always time to eat sugar. Sleeping more can also help regulate your stress and hunger hormones, among tons of other benefits.
What Are Other Names And Other Types Of Sugar?
When was the last time you scanned the ingredients list of your favorite packaged foods? If you don’t already, this list will make you start!
You can’t fight what you can’t name, so keep your eyes peeled for these hard-to catch names for sugar on the ingredients label:
- Caramel - also used as coloring in soft drinks, derived from corn “or cane sugar”. The “or” in Coca-Cola’s explanation refers to a temporary change to make the ingredients Kosher for Passover. The rest of the year, it is from corn.
- Concentrates - fruit concentrates are one of the latest advertising ploys. You won’t have to look for long at the ingredients of many popular “natural antioxidant” supplements, to find “whole fruit concentrates”. These evaporated fruit juices do just what the name says: they concentrate the antioxidants and they concentrate the sugar. Taking a pro-inflammatory along with your anti-inflammatory doesn’t sound like a very useful combination to me! It's a so-called “healthy” advertising trick.
- Dextrose - plain old sugar, derived from corn.
- Fructose - a refined sugar implicated in the epidemic that nobody’s talking about, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and present in so, so, so many processed foods.
- Galactose - in milk products and found in other processed foods.
- Invert sugar - add some processing to your processed carbs!
- Lactose - in milk products and found in other processed foods.
- Maltodextrin - a common additive in foods and supplements.
- Molasses - basically all the nutrition extracted from bleaching refined white sugar in a thick syrup. I wouldn’t call it healthy, per se, but molasses is by far the best, most nutritious type of sugar.
- Nectars from fruit (like apple or pear)
- Sucrose - plain table sugar, a molecule each of glucose and fructose.
- Syrups: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup, (brown) rice syrup, barley malt/ malt syrup - some of these like agave and HFCS have whopping doses of fructose, a high glycemic sugar that spikes blood glucose, and may be associated with diabetes, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
- Turbinado, muscovado, raw sugar, dehydrated cane juice - these are less refined forms of sugar, which means they have a little more nutritional value. That doesn’t make them healthy though, these are still high glycemic ingredients! Avoid all of them as much as possible.
Where Can You Find Hidden Sweeteners?
According to research, nearly 90% of American’s sugar comes from processed foods. Here’s a short list of foods you might not suspect are loaded with sugar. Find low- or no- sugar alternatives for these:
- Barbeque sauce
- Sweet Chili Sauce and some hot sauces
- Pre-packaged and frozen foods
- Peanut Butter
- Many canned foods (like tomatoes, coconut milk, chili beans)
- Granola bars
- Protein powders and protein bars - these are usually just carb bars full of sugar. If you really want to support your performance and recovery, give Resync Collagen protein a try.
- Cereal, pre-made oatmeal - these are processed carbs.
- Baked goods- usually filled with several sources of sugar. Instead, try our whole foods muffin recipe featured in our upcoming ebook for baked goods. It’s filled with valuable nutrients, not sugar.
Are Alternative Sweeteners Good For You?
You can use no-calorie or low-calorie sugar substitutes to help transition away from sugar. You shouldn’t eat too much of anything, including alternative sweeteners, since their long-term safety profile is uncertain and they definitely have an effect on the microbiome, and can have effects on insulin sensitivity, sugar cravings, and hormones.
Some other nutrients get a pass. These have some calories, but don’t cause the same kind of harmful effects like inflammation that sugar does. In fact, research on these ingredients actually shows that they’re a healthy addition to most diets! This is our list of safe sugar substitutes; eat these natural sugar-free alternatives instead of sugar:
List Of Natural Sugar Substitutes:
- Stevia, Stevia extract (Riboside A, Steviol Glycoside) - stevia comes from a plant with a natural sweetness. It passes through the human body intact and research suggests it has no negative side effects. Check out this research review for more.
- Monk Fruit extract (mogroside V) - newer to the US market, monk fruit appears to be safe and preferred by many. There hasn’t been enough research yet to determine the long-term safety of this extract, according to research panels. However many people prefer this sweetener than stevia, as it doesn’t have a weird aftertaste.
- Glycine - the main component of collagen, a key amino acid of melatonin, and about half the sweetness of table sugar, glycine is set to become the next “protein” supplement you haven’t heard of yet, especially since our bodies might not be able to make enough to sustain optimal health.
- Ribose - an amino acid that makes up your DNA, ribose is also about half as sweet as sugar.
- Fruit - if you’ve got to have the sugar, try healthy fruits like berries. Keep in mind that some fruit, especially dried fruit, are still very high in sugar. And I would never say they are healthy.
Here Are The Sugar Substitutes You Want To Watch Out For:
- Acesulfame K (aka. Sunett or Sweet One)
- Aspartame (aka. Equal or Nutrasweet)
- Neotame (brand name: Newtame)
- Saccharin (aka. Sweet 'N Low or Sweet Twin)
- Sugar Alcohols (Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Erythritol, Lactitol, Isomalt, Maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH)) - these don’t spike blood sugar like true sugars, but they can cause bloating, gas, and pain in many people. Xylitol or Erythritol are probably the best, but still not recommended in large quantities and many cardiologists would want you to stay away from them.
- Sucralose (Splenda)
If you want to learn more about what makes a healthy diet, dive into our blog archives for a wealth of evidence-based info. Start with these top blogs:
- Cooking Healthy on a Budget
- Stay In, Stay Healthy: What to Eat to Support Your Immune System Part 1; and part 2 here
- Make The Best Of Your Veggies: Synergy Of Whole-food Nitrate Combinations
- How to Keep Your Glutathione Up with Diet and Supplements
And if you’re looking to take your knowledge to the next level check out these science based ebooks, each with a section on healthy eating:
- Collagen 101 - The Ultimate Guide To Improve Skincare, Joint Health & Energy
- The Best Strategies To Resync Your Performance & Recovery With Collagen
- 7 Drinks To Guarantee You Look Feel & Perform Your Best
See Why Resync might be right for you!
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Wishing you the best in your health,
The Resync Team
This content is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute the practice of any professional healthcare service, INCLUDING the giving of medical advice. No provider-patient relationship is formed. The use of this information, and the materials linked to this content is at the user's own risk. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should abide by the advice of their healthcare provider, and should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition they may have.