Time for an Added Sugar Audit
Today we’ll focus on reducing or eliminating added sugar from your diet. But before we get to that, let me give you some background information.
What’s the best diet?
Time and again I get asked, “what’s the best diet?” There is so much confusion and hype in the nutrition and weight loss industries that it’s hard to know what’s best. This can leave you feeling confused, frustrated, and even overwhelmed when you try to improve your nutrition.
This past week I was reviewing studies published by Dr. Dean Ornish, including this powerful study which showed that heart disease could be effectively treated with a healthy diet, exercise, and stress reduction. With these measures, the amount of plaque buildup in people’s arteries actually decreased over 5 years, compared with an increase in the “usual care” control group.
While the Ornish diet focuses on a whole-food, plant-based, low fat approach, it is just one example of a healthy eating style. Studies show that you can get good results and improvement in your health with a variety of approaches (e.g. Mediterranean diet, Paleo diet, Blue Zones diet, etc.). Studies also show that for any given diet program, there is a high dropout rate, as high as 40% over the course of one year in this study.
My review of nutrition science and my experience over 16 years in practice lead me to conclude the best diet is:
- One that follows sound principles
- One that you can sustain long-term
5 Rules for Every Healthy Eating Plan
Every healthy eating plan, as far as I can determine, follows these 5 rules:
- Focus on eating plants (mainly vegetables, but also fruits if you choose to eat these)
- Reduce or eliminate refined grains
- Reduce or eliminate added sugars
- Reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages
- Reduce or eliminate highly processed foods
The Added Sugar Audit
Let’s focus on Rule #3 – Reduce or Eliminate Added Sugars.
The average American consumes more than 70 g of added sugar daily, while experts recommend we should limit to less than 37 g for men and 25 g for women. Excess added sugar is associated with weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes, heart disease, cancer, fatty liver, and fluctuating energy levels. Cutting back on added sugar is one simple way to improve the quality of your nutrition.
The “Added Sugar Audit and Action Plan” is a simple process you can use to assess where you right now in terms of your sugar intake, and you can select targets for where you’d like to make improvements. You can download the Action Plan Worksheet by clicking here.
The process is pretty straightforward, but if you’d like to see me describe the process in more detail and describe my own experience going through the audit, please check out this Facebook Live training.
Reducing or eliminating added sugar is one of the most powerful changes you can make in your diet. My personal experience going through this process recently, and I’ll bashfully admit I was well above the recommended 37 g per day limit for added sugar, is that within 2 weeks (1) I didn’t miss the foods I’d eliminated, (2) my sweet taste receptors “reset” and foods I’d found quite appealing are now overwhelmingly sweet, and (3) if I eat something with high added sugar I can feel my brain going nutso and saying “eat more of that!”
Are you ready to tackle added sugar in your diet? Get started here.