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Reducing Sugar

There have been a lot of posts going around the blogosphere talking about what we eat, how we eat, why we eat… and it’s gotten me and Aaron thinking and talking a lot about the food choices we make.  If I am being totally honest, cost is easily the biggest factor in our decisions on what food to buy.  Most of the time, we buy the absolute cheapest thing that we can.  I have heard a lot of people lamenting the fact that Americans only spend 10% of their income on food, which is a much smaller percentage than people nearly everywhere else, but what’s tough is that our major bills (debt, mortgage, student loans) take up the rest of it so we have very little choice.

I’ve also been thinking about my long term goals when it comes to food.  Especially in response to the idea of intuitive eating, I’ve been saying that once I reach my goal weight I want to be able to stop counting and measuring and weighing, and my hope is that I will have done this long enough and consistently enough at that point to transition to a form of intuitive eating.  Hopefully I will be trained so well to what a portion looks like and what calories are in a given food that I will be able to make good choices without thinking as much about it.  I honestly don’t mind the weighing, measuring, and point counting involved in Weight Watchers, but it would be nice at some point not to need it anymore.

Overall, I feel like I do pretty well.  Yes, I eat a decent amount of processed foods, and I do use fake sugar.  I am still on the fence about the whole fake sugar thing…  Some people say it is the worst thing ever to happen to human beings (although the argument that it makes you hungrier is just not true for me) while other people, like my doctor, say that if it is a tool that helps me get my weight under control then it is totally worthwhile because right now being overweight is a much bigger health risk than the potential issues of Splenda.  So… I don’t know.  What I do know are two things…

Number one – thanks to joining iChange, I’ve had a nutritionist looking at my food choices over the past couple of weeks, and although I have individual days where I have too much fat or not enough fruit, overall she thinks I am doing a good job, eating with balance and control, and staying in the right ranges for fat, calories, fruit, veggies, protein, etc…  So I consider that a victory.  Of course, every nutritionist is different, so I am sure someone somewhere would tell me that I was doing horribly, but I choose to feel validated.  I am making the best choices I can right now with the tools I have at my disposal and the budget we have.

Number two – I think I want to eat less sugar overall.  Aaron and I want to start buying foods with less added sugar.  Do you know it’s in EVERYTHING?  We’re trying to get the no sugar added foods, the low sugar cereals, and making small changes there.  By no means will I be going sugar free anytime soon, but I do think cutting back on the sugar in all of our foods is going to make things better for us overall.  I think all of the sugar we (often unknowingly) take in does nothing to help with our overall energy, and half the time we prefer the taste of the unsweetened foods when we do get them.  Last week we ate all no sugar added applesauce and were shocked by how much more we enjoyed the taste of… you know… fruit.  So that was a good lesson for us…

We will be trying to very gradually shift what we buy.  It’s not going to be an all at once sort of effort, but instead something we do one item at a time.  We started with applesauce, and last week we bought whole grain cereal as well.  So this week we will look to replace something else, maybe a dessert or juice… maybe I will finally find the unsweetened almond milk and start buying that instead.  It’s just a small thing, but hopefully a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing our overall sugar intake and making a tiny change toward healthier living.

So… tips?  Tricks?  Ideas for ways to reduce the sugar in our diet?  And before anyone says it, fruit is NOT a valid replacement for dessert.  I love you guys, but when I want a cookie or some ice cream, a bowl of blueberries (no matter how good) is not going to cut it.  So what do you, or would you like to, do?  What do you buy that helps lower your sugar intake?  I am especially interested if you’ve found things that work for you and are sold at Walmart or wholesale clubs….


5 Responses

  1. I totally agree that fruit is not dessert! I don’t even like desserts with fruit in them like apple pie – nope. If it’s dessert it should have chocolate and/or frosting…just saying.

  2. My mom taught me a long time ago that “fat free” products are not always the best choice, because in order to reduce the fat, they add a ton of sugar. So I have learned to try to buy “light” products instead of fat free. Also, I like to make my own salad dressing with seasonings, olive oil, and apple cidar vinager. Store bought dressings have a ton of sugar in them, and I think having the fat from good olive oil is better for me in the long run than having a fat free or low fat dressing full of sugar. These are just a couple things that I do to. The more you prepare your own food from scratch, the better it is, but I understand time constraints also. And when you get to your goal weight, you will not need to measure and calculate points on everything…you will know it. I can look at something and guess the points value pretty acurately I’ve been doing this so long lol. That is the beauty of weight watchers…you develop a healthier lifestyle for good if you stick with it. Just keep reminding yourself this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.

  3. A trick is to have one SMALL scoop of ice cream, but put a TON of FROZEN berries (no sugar added kind, just the fruit) Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries. Although the Raspberries really cub my cravings, sometimes I just do those. Since it’s frozen, it satisfies better.
    As a general rule, I don’t eat processed foods. If I want it that badly, I have to make or bake it. When I bake, I can only make a half batch and replace half the sugar with Splenda.
    Also, Skinny Cow has the little dollar scoop ice cream containers out which have reduced sugar and fiber added. It has 250 cal, but is still ice cream!
    I’m also a fan of the Hungry Girl (200 under 200) cookook. She does a TON of fake-outs with Fiber One that satifies the fat cravings.

  4. I love the Blue Bunny sugar free ice creams sold at WM, I don’t often shop there and they are the only place that sell it.

    It is amazing how much sugar is added to everything and good for you for switching over to SF. Slowly is better than not so WTG!!!

  5. Personally I don’t think there’s much wrong with using Splenda in moderate quantities. I don’t use aspartame because I definitely felt like it affected me negatively, but Splenda doesn’t do that to me.
    There are definitely low sugar desserts made with Splenda, I think Klondike makes some, or Blue Bunny.
    When I was doing south beach, I LOVED being almost sugar free! I felt better, and it was much easier to resist overeating and eating the wrong foods.
    Watch your bread – some breads are made with sugar or HFCS. Ketchup is another thing that has a lot of sugar in it.
    Heather, I think you’re going to be very happy once you get used to your new foods !

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