Transitioning from processed food to real food means trading sweetness on the tongue for sweetness in life.
You will feel better, look better, have more energy, and, no doubt, enjoy more sweet, sweet years.
There’s no comparison, really.Your Future Self
Not all calories are the same
How to cut back on hidden sugar
Many foods have naturally occurring sugars in them, like lactose in dairy, which is not concerning (unless you’re lactose intolerant). To determine how much sugar has been added to a food, compare the amount of total sugar (on the Nutrition Facts panel) in a sweetened version of the food to its unsweetened counterpart.
Inform yourself. Ask how much sweetener is in your usual coffee drink. Ask the bakery if they use sugar in their breads. Visit your favorite restaurant’s website for nutrition information and ingredients.
Memorize this simple conversion: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Visualize the amount of sugar on a food label in teaspoons to put things into perspective. You would never put 4 teaspoons of sugar on your cereal or 9 teaspoons in your beverage, so why allow the food industry to do it for you?
Buy full-fat versions of foods and avoid low-fat, lite, or non-fat versions. They’re likely to have added sugars to compensate for the lack of fat.
To quote this article, “-ose is gross.” If you see the suffix “ose” in any ingredient on a food label, know that it is code for sugar.
Another suffix that is code for sugar is “ol” as in sorbitol, but we can’t think of a handy rhyme for that one.
Don’t be fooled by wholesome-sounding ingredients like beet juice or organic brown rice syrup. Juice and syrup are synonymous with sugar.
Stop drinking sweetened beverages. Period. Wean yourself off of them.
Eat fruit or dark chocolate (>70 percent cacao) when you’re hankering for something sweet.
Be wary of foods that come in packaging or whose labels make a health claim.
Make it yourself.
Re-sensitize your palate to sweetness. Cut back on sweets without relying on non-caloric sweeteners. Non-caloric sweeteners are not effective in reducing body weight and can still contribute to metabolic dysfunction. Plus, when you rely on non-caloric sweeteners, your palate won’t normalize. Real food will taste bland in comparison. You’ll never experience the joy of a ripe peach if your palate is desensitized to anything but ultra sweetness.
Calculating added sugar is simple. Or is it?
Think of your all-time favorite processed food. Either reference the food label or its nutrition information online and:
- Give yourself a pat on your back if that food is not in your house right now.
- Check the ingredient list. How many of its ingredients are sugars?
- Now check the Nutrition Facts panel. Note how many grams of Total Sugar the food has per serving.
- Determine how much of the Total Sugar is added: Compare your favorite food to an unsweetened version of itself (works well for dairy, anything fruit- or vegetable-based) or assume that all the sugar present in the food has been added if no unsweetened version of the food exists.
- Multiply the grams of added sugar by how many package servings you would typically eat in one sitting.
- Convert those grams of sugar to teaspoons (4 g = 1 tsp) to get an idea of how much sugar your favorite food truly contains.
Visit the Challenge forum. Tell us how many teaspoons of sugar your favorite processed food contains (in the serving that you typically eat). How has your perspective of that food changed?