Do you find yourself stressing out over making decisions about sugar and sweeteners? The University of Washington has some sound advice.
- Read the Nutrition Facts label when food shopping. Pay attention to what you put in your body, whether it’s a natural or an artificial sweetener.
- Think of sugar in teaspoons. Divide the number of grams of sugar in a serving by four. That’s how many teaspoons of sugar you’re about to consume in a serving.
- Eat nutrient-dense sweets when possible. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a nutrient-dense dish instead of a straight shot of sugar. An orange is better than a glass of orange juice.
- Ask, “why do I want this?” If you’re craving a sweet treat, ask yourself why. Often it’s because your last meal left you hungry. Choose satiating meals and supplement with filling, healthy snacks.
- Consult the Glycemic Index. Not all carbs are created equal. The Glycemic Index tells you how fast your body absorbs them.
- Substitute low-sugar natural flavorings. Cinnamon adds flavor to your oatmeal with only 0.1 grams of sugar per teaspoon, compared with 4 grams per teaspoon of table sugar. For other dishes, try lemon juice (0.2 grams per slice) and balsamic vinegar (0.8 grams per teaspoon).
- Don’t overdo the artificial sweeteners. Just because there’s no sugar in Diet Coke doesn’t mean you should drink three cans per day.
- “Diet” sugars shouldn’t be replaced elsewhere. If you avoid 40 grams of sugar by opting for a diet drink, don’t convince yourself that you have 40 “free” grams of sugar you get to eat later.
- Don’t stress out or shame yourself over sugar. There’s no perfect way to eat. Starving your sweet tooth might be less healthy than feeding it a small amount occasionally. Aim for balance.