Controlling Your Sweet Tooth
It is important to have a plan once the “No Sweets” challenge is over. It isn't realistic to think you can restrict sugar and continue following “no sweets” for the rest of your life, especially if you previously ate a lot of sugar. But, you can control the “sweet tooth”! Many who allow themselves an occasional sweet treat have success at making healthier changes. Make sure you schedule in extra exercise to burn those extra calories though!
Tips to control the “sweet tooth”:
Choose your added sugar allowance in nutrient –rich foods, such as sweetened yogurt, flavored low-fat milk, and high-fiber whole grain breakfast cereals. This is much better than having a soda or a candy bar with no nutrients!
Substitute mixed nuts, dried fruit (without added sugar) and low-sugar cereals for candy. A few small pieces of dark chocolate in the mix can satisfy the sweet and/or chocolate craving!
Eat whole-grain graham crackers and fig bars instead of store-bought chocolate chip or cream-filled sandwich cookies.
Use less sugar in recipes to make your own desserts, cookies, and quick breads. Use ¼ to 1/3 less sugar! Experiment with all recipes to use less sugar.
Consider substituting artificial sweeteners for some sugar. Be careful with sugar-free desserts and candy….it’s not calorie free and if not portion controlled (sugar alcohols like xylitol and mannitol) can cause some stomach symptoms (ex. diarrhea, gas etc.).
Have 1 portion of a sweet food you are craving. Some examples:
- 4 Hershey kisses =135 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
- Make your own chocolate covered raisins by melting ¼ of dark chocolate bar in microwave and stir in 40 raisins. Let cool on wax paper. 120 calories and 5 grams added sugar.
- Air popped popcorn-1 ½ cups, drizzle with ½ of a melted dark chocolate bar=150 calories and 10 grams added sugar.
- 5 strawberries dipped in ½ melted dark chocolate bar = 70 calories and 10 grams added sugar
Can you tell I like chocolate for my added sugar allowance?:)
No Sweets Challenge
The average American consumes nearly 400 calories (about 27 teaspoons) from added sugars each day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not consuming more than 10% of your total calories in the form of added sugar. For someone on a 2000 calorie diet, that is 200 calories (about 13 teaspoons of sugar) and for a 1500 calorie diet, that is 150 calories (10 teaspoons of sugar-the same amount of sugar in 1 can of soda!). The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends even stricter guidelines: for women, no more than 100 calories and for men, no more than 150 calories from added sugar daily. The AHA states; a high sugar intake has been linked to numerous health concerns, including obesity, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
The large intake of calories from sugar seems to be from an increased consumption of soft drinks, fruit drinks and other sweetened beverages, desserts, sugars and jellies, candy and ready-to-eat cereals. By cutting out foods with added sugars you will decrease calorie intake and lower body weight, and possibly improve triglycerides, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels!
Tips to cut out sweets for 10 days:
- Restrict intake of soda and other sweetened beverages (punch, lemonade, sweet tea, etc.). Choose water, and unsweetened coffee and tea instead.
- Choose whole-food snacks, such as fresh fruit, dried fruits, raw veggies, or trail mix with dried fruit and nuts instead of high-sugar snacks and desserts.
- Remember that sugar is sugar, whether it is from honey, agave syrup, beet sugar etc.
- Read labels. If a food contains no milk or fruit, the sugar grams on the label is all added sugar.
- Choose whole grain cereal like oatmeal and shredded wheat instead of sugar loaded ready-to-eat cereals and enhance the sweetness naturally with fruit, a little vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Rosemary in fruit salads and fruit compotes can also enhance the sweet flavor of the fruit.