One of the best things you can do is reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
We eat too much added sugar in our diets– often without even realizing it, and often from processed foods. Sugar adds to a range of health issues common later in life, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and stroke.
If all that weren’t enough, researcher Robert Lustig says, “Sugar turns on the aging programs in your body. The more sugar you eat, the faster you age.”
Here are five tips to put a dent in your sugar intake.
- Start with breakfast, when we often consume sugary beverages and packaged foods. Stick with whole foods instead.
- Read food labels. Be skeptical of terms like “high-fructose corn sugar,” “agave” and even “honey,” since they are added sugars, too.
- Most whole fruit is generally OK, because the sugar comes with fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. It won’t jolt your blood sugar in dangerous ways. Fruit juices are another story.
- Reconsider dessert. Go for Greek yogurt with fruit, or dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa level, the less sugar).
- Don’t keep it in the house. Buy natural sweeteners like Stevia, and avoid high-sugar, highly processed junk food that’s packed with added sugar. If it’s not in the cupboard, you can avoid the temptations a lot easier. Instead, keep nuts, jerky, and hard-boiled eggs handy for when snacky cravings hit.
And remember, it’s not meant to be torture. Have a treat once a week, but be smart about even that, since sugar can cause us to want more and more of it.
Sources: The New York Times, Healthline
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.