Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cutting Out the Sugar

Fun fact about me: I have a sweet tooth. I love chocolate, ice cream, cookies, cake bites ... yum to all of it. I used to bake every weekend and stuff my face with nibble on it throughout the week. Throughout my weight loss and journey to being healthy, I cut the majority of that out. Yes, I've had the occasional cookie and I've indulged in ice cream a few times, but I do that in moderation now and it's important to not completely give up the foods you love. I also have a small piece of Dove dark chocolate every day (or two if I'm having a bad day!). It's healthy for you, right?? However, even with cutting all of that stuff out, I was still consuming high amounts of sugar.

If you track what eat for a few days, you might be surprised by how much sugar you consume even if you don't have a sweet tooth. Sugar is in pretty much everything. Especially if you eat processed foods or drink soda. I started tracking my food intake last May and after seeing that sugar count, I cut out pretty much all processed foods. I make pretty much everything from scratch if I can, and read lots of labels in the grocery store prior to buying. The processed foods I haven't given up are graham crackers (good for a quick snack, but quite a bit of sugar so I don't eat them often), my Dove dark chocolate, corn tortillas (I gave up flour ones recently and I just don't have the patience to make my own. I heard Trader Joe's carries an organic corn tortilla that's supposed to be better for you so I'm going to look for that on my next trip!) and a few other things on occasion. The hardest processed food for me to give up? Cereal. I loved cereal. I would eat it for breakfast and dinner sometimes. But cereal has so much sugar it. Even your "healthy" cereals! 

Although I felt like I cut so much out of my new healthy lifestyle to get my sugar intake down, I was still surprised to find out how much sugar I was consuming when I started tracking my food again. My daily goal of sugar is around 30 grams, and I was going over that every single day without eating processed foods, cereal, baked goods or using table sugar! What the heck?! 

Taking a look at what I was eating, fruit is one of the issues. And I know, it's "natural sugar" and I'm not as concerned about it. However, did you know a small banana has 18 grams of sugar in it? Grapes are even worse with the amount of sugar. So although fruit is super healthy and I won't stop eating it, I have to remember that it's nature's candy and I have to focus on enjoying more low sugar fruits like blueberries and strawberries or snack on veggies, and only one banana a day. I am not saying give up fruit; just pointing out that it's high in sugar, but also high in fiber and other healthy, good things that it's important to eat. You should eat at least five servings of fruits & veggies a day; I just now aim for more veggies than fruit.

My other issue - the bigger one? My breakfast. I was putting brown sugar on my oatmeal and I love my coffee creamer. I use Natural Bliss so it doesn't have all the additives, but there are still five grams of sugar in one tablespoon. The brown sugar I was using had four grams of sugar in one teaspoon. I've recently stopped putting brown sugar on my oatmeal (yay!) since I've switched to unsweetened vanilla almond milk which gives it a nice flavor especially topped with blueberries so extra sugar isn't necessary. However, I don't know what to do about the coffee creamer. If I have two cups of coffee, I'm consuming a third of my sugar allowance in my coffee alone! I will not use artificial sweetners and am investigating stevia (the liquid, not the processed forms), but am still skeptical about that. Any suggestions?

Every day is a struggle for me to keep my sugar intake around 30 grams. I understand why they say sugar is more addictive than crack - I am definitely addicted! I think I'm doing so much better, but I know I have room for improvement and cutting out excess sugar will help with my overall health and getting my body to its fittest; however, it's a difficult process for me!

Until next time~


  1. The only thing that worked for me to give up coffee creamer was just to make myself quit, but that was when they didn't have the all natural flavored creamer in the stores. It was motivation enough just knowing I wasn't consuming chemicals in my coffee anymore. However, natural creamer doesn't provide that motivation. ;-) So give yourself a reward after going creamer-free for a week or two. I now have a hard time drinking coffee with creamer, as my taste buds changed. Every once in a while I'll crave the creamer or a flavored Starbucks drink, so then I'll give in and get it, but it's usually never as good as I thought it would be. (Well, maybe the peppermint mocha, with 1/2 the amount of mocha and peppermint ;-). I really think once you cut it out for awhile, you'll like coffee better just black, especially if buying really good coffee grounds. Good luck!

    1. Great advice, thank you! I just love the taste of coffee with cream in it! I am, however, finding those Starbucks drinks I loved too sweet, which is a good thing!

  2. I'm trying really hard to watch my sugar intake. It's hard when you have a sweet tooth! But I like your "eat less sugar" picture!

  3. Try Agave or things sweetened with it. There are lots of varieties (even maple syrup flavored for pancakes). Williams Sonoma even has a Margarita Mix sweetened with Agave. Low glycemic, all natural sweetener.