low sugarPeople in the US eat over 60 pounds of added sugar each year – or about 75g per day!  According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of sugar men should eat is 37.5g per day and for women it’s 25g.  To put that in perspective, a single can of Coke has ~35g of sugar.

All this excess sugar is problematic because it can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and many more chronic diseases.  And it’s important to note that there’s no need for added sugars in your diet, so the less you eat the healthier you’ll be.

To help avoid the health concerns mentioned above, it can be helpful to follow a low sugar diet; the basics of which involve limiting added sugar and sometimes reducing foods high in simple carbohydrates like white rice or white bread.

Benefits of a low sugar diet

  • Help with weight loss
  • Less risk for cancer
  • Lowered risk for type 2 diabetes and balancing of blood sugar
  • Reduced risk for inflammatory digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Better protection against other common conditions related to inflammation, weight gain and nutrient deficiencies like hemorrhoids, kidney stones, peptic ulcer, PMS, autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease
  • More stable moods
  • More energy

What Foods Are Low In Sugar

Here are just some examples of foods that are naturally low in sugar:

  • Any meats, seafood, and poultry
  • High quality protein powders without added sugar
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, etc.)
  • Fermented dairy like plain yogurt or kefir
  • Eggs
  • Non-processed cheese
  • Almost all vegetables
  • Fruit, in moderation (berries are lower in sugar than most other fruits)
  • Olive oil

What About Carbs?

In terms of carbohydrates, all carbs increase blood glucose (sugar), but this doesn’t mean that all of them are unhealthy and should be avoided. Sugary, processed foods impact blood glucose levels a lot more than whole, unprocessed foods.  Opt for brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta instead of refined simple carbs.

5 Tips For Following A Low Sugar Diet

  1. Read labels carefully at the grocery store
  2. Stay hydrated and drink water frequently to help with digestion.  The amount you need depends on a variety of factors, but generally 64 oz a day should suffice for most people.
  3. Try stevia if you need to sweeten something, because it has a more concentrated sweet flavor than sugar and therefore you don’t need to use as much.
  4. Limit the amount of processed/packaged foods you eat, most of those have lots of hidden sugar.
  5. Limit alcohol, which is very high in sugar and simple carbs.

Article provided by Chefs For Seniors in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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