How to Stop Eating Sugar

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It seems as though everyone is on a mission to kick the sugar habit lately! Cutting sugar and refined carbs is just one step in a weight loss and health journey, but it’s a pretty big one. The problem is, there is sugar in everything! Even if you cut out the obvious culprits, like candy and soda and baked goods, sugar is hiding in plenty of other foods. Eating too much sugar can have a negative impact on your health, so it’s definitely worth the effort to kick the habit. Here’s how to stop eating sugar, even if it’s being sneaky.

If you’re wondering how to stop eating sugar, the first step is pretty obvious! Cut out the main culprits.

Sugary drinks account for nearly 44% of added sugar in the average American diet. These include sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juices. 44%! If you drink of these things on a regular basis, then putting a stop to that will take care of a big chunk of the sugar you’re consuming. Swap out the sweet drinks with water, sparkling water flavored with fruit essence, or herbal tea or coffee.

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Next, check your diet for sweet, desserts, and snacks that are loaded with sugar. Don’t focus too much on natural sugars from fruits and veggies (the fiber and vitamins you get from those are good!). Cut out things like pastries, candies, ice cream, and cakes. Also, be extra careful with so-called “healthy” snacks, like granola or yogurt. Lots of those are loaded with sugar!

When you’re figuring out how to stop eating sugar, you need to look for sugar in unlikely places.

Lots of sauces, condiments, and dressings contain loads of sugar, even if they don’t taste like it! Reading labels while you’re trying to cut out sugar is key. Pay attention to the nutritional facts, which will tell you how much sugar is in a serving. But also, read the ingredient list! If there are added sugars and sweeteners, that’s where you’ll see it.

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Also, don’t just focus on the types of sugar you recognize, like table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and agave are all used as sugar substitutes. But if you’re trying to kick your sugar habit, eating them can derail your progress and keep those cravings going.

To fight the sugar cravings, eat full-fat, whole foods.

Low-fat isn’t necessarily better. Most “diet” foods retain their flavor by adding sugar. For example, four ounces of low-fat vanilla yogurt contains 16 grams of sugar. But the same amount of full-fat yogurt has just 5 grams of naturally-occurring sugar from dairy. When in doubt, always go with full-fat!

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When possible, choose whole, unprocessed foods over refined, processed prepared or packaged foods. By preparing your own meals, you can control how much sugar goes into them. And stay far away from ultra-processed foods like junk food, as they’re an incredibly unhealthy option and loaded with sugars and other additives.

Figuring out how to stop eating sugar is easy – it’s actually stopping that’s hard! But by paying attention to what you’re eating, reading labels, and using more whole foods to cook at home, you can drastically decrease your sugar intake.

(Image: iStock/Manuta)