Ways to cut refined sugar from your diet

Recent reports suggest sugar is more addictive than hard drugs. Whether this is the case or not, consuming it regularly can certainly lead to cravings and addiction.

Excess sugar in our diet is responsible for many of today's chronic health issues including: diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It may be near impossible to completely remove sugar from our diet but there are ways we can cut back.

Know what you're eating
Read food labels. In doing so, you will learn that most products contain sugar. Note that much of it is disguised by words like sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and maltodextrin. It's best to avoid processed foods but if that's not possible, opt for low sugar varieties. As a general guideline, aim for less than 15 grams per 100g.

Not all sugar is the same
Some sugars are worse than others. For instance, a research team at Princeton University found that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) leads to more weight gain than table sugar.

HFCS is making its way into many processed foods and drinks. According to Dr Mark Hyman, an American physician and functional medicine practitioner, HFCS can be directly linked to the obesity epidemic.

When choosing a sweetener, pick the most natural product you can find. Raw honey, coconut sugar and rapadura are great substitutes.

Choose fruit or vegetables
Unless your doctor has put you on a low-fructose diet, eating fruits and vegetables is a great way to remove refined sugar but still get that sweet fix. Fructose levels vary so it's best to learn which ones keep you within the recommended daily limits.

Fruits with a high amount of fructose include bananas, mangoes, blackberries, canned, and dried fruits.

When possible, choose these: avocados, celery, cucumbers, beetroot, apricots and spinach.

Go Cold Turkey
If you want to make a drastic change to your diet, the best way to rid your body of sugar is to stop consuming it. This means no more teaspoons in your tea and certainly no processed food or drink (including alcohol). 

Could you go cold turkey? Leave a comment below.