4 Tips to Limit Sugar This Halloween
You can still enjoy your favorite candy holiday, just keep these tips in mind to limit your daily sugar intake.
Growing up, it seems we were told we couldn’t eat all our Halloween candy in one gleeful night because it would give us a stomach ache or cavities. While both of those things might be true, we sometimes forget that watching our sugar intake is just as important for an adult as it is for a child.
Sugar is unusual because unlike other foods, it doesn’t add value to your diet. People try to lower fat intake—which is not a bad thing—but some fats are necessary for your body to function. This isn’t true of added sugar; your body doesn’t need it.
In fact, sugar can be detrimental to your health. According to Harvard Health, a 15-year study revealed those who consumed 25% of their daily calories from sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who had 10% or less of their calories come from sugar, even if they were skinny.
How much should you have?
According to the American Heart Association, women should be getting no more than 100 calories of sugar—that’s 6 teaspoons or 20 grams—per day. Men shouldn’t have more than 150 calories, which is about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams.
That sounds like a lot, but you’re likely eating a lot more sugar than you realize, because it’s added to everything. Let’s put this in perspective.
How much sugar is in your food?
Look at the nutrition facts of your packaged food. Chances are, it has sugar even if it’s a savory food. To calculate the sugar, look at the grams. There are four calories per gram. You can count the grams, or you can calculate the calories.
In one can of soda, there are about 33 grams of sugar, or 136 calories. In those 12 ounces alone, you are going over your daily recommended intake if you’re a woman, and nearly maxing out if you’re a man.
Or how about foods you don’t think have any sugar at all? On average, a flour tortilla has 5 grams of sugar. Because the savory foods you’re eating have sneaky hidden sugar, it becomes extra important to monitor how much sugar you’re eating every day.
Related: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Tips to limiting sugar
Going cold turkey and eliminating sugar is hard. It’s addictive, and it’s possible your body will have withdrawals from quitting. But if you want to stop eating sugar all together, it is possible. You will just need a lot of self-control and likely someone to hold you accountable.
Or if you’re looking for a more gradual control over sugar, try these suggestions:
1. Learn to love natural dessert
Instead of reaching for a cookie after your meal, train your body to eat a piece of fruit instead. The natural sugars in fruit are healthier and could still satisfy your sweet tooth.
2. Give yourself a cheat day
If you know you won’t be able to skip sugar altogether, or if you’re afraid it will eventually lead to binge habits, try to avoid sugar during the week, but allow yourself something on the weekend.
3. Limit yourself to one treat a day
If you’re used to snacking on small sugary things in between meals, this suggestion might be just the thing for you. Tell yourself you can only have one sugary thing a day. Sure, you’re still having sugar, but you’ll be more mindful of your decisions throughout the day (and more likely savor the treat you eat).
4. Swap out white sugar for more natural sugars
Instead of using refined sugars, learn to substitute real honey, agave, or maple syrup. It’s still sugar, so be aware of your portions. Honey has quite a few calories—more than sugar, but because it’s sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it to sweeten things.
With small steps toward lowering your sugar intake, you’re one step closer to a healthier you.
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