5 Easy Tips to Cut your Sugar Intake
Do you know when the last time you ate sugar was?
Chances are good that your mind jumps right to a donut, candy, or soda that you’ve had recently.
And while those are certainly sources of sugar, there are likely plenty more that you aren’t aware of. Many people in today’s busy world need quick, processed foods when it comes to dinner or snacks during the day. These products, however, typically contain plenty of added sugar.
So why should that be a cause for concern?
More and more, research is showing that the intake of added sugars is on the rise, along with major killers like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease. In fact, the consumption of added sugars has even been implicated in an increased risk of cognitive decline, so there is even a mental component to consider!
In our diets, some top sources of added sugar include fruit drinks (even ones that seem healthy!), soda, yogurt, cereals, and meals that come from boxes. There can even be sugars in items like bread, ketchup, and soups.
Some people believe that sugar means energy, but this form of energy will spike quickly, then crash. You’ve likely heard of, or experienced yourself, that after eating a huge plate of carbohydrate-heavy food, a nap is in order. That’s the crash due to a quick spike in blood sugar and insulin, followed by a sharp drop in these levels.
Instead of letting your energy levels fluctuate, and your overall health take a hit, you can make a wiser choice.
Here are some tips to get you started on decreasing your sugar intake;
- Step it down. If you drink 5 sodas in a day, subtract one for a few days, then another for another few days, and so on. Do the same with adding sugar to your coffee or tea. You’ll get used to going without that sweet taste quicker than you might think. It’s all about sustainability here; start with small changes so that they don’t feel impossible. That will help you get all the way to the finish line.
- Drink more water. Did you know that dehydration can often present itself as hunger or food cravings? Hydrate throughout the day to prevent this from occurring. Try to spread out your water intake rather than inundating the body with a large volume of water just a couple of times per day.
- Reach for a natural sweetener. Options like 100% maple syrup are far better than reaching for the sugar bowl. You can also try raw honey, which is thought to have further properties that could be beneficial to your health. These substitutes may just end up being your favorite new go-to sweetener.
- Eat some berries. Despite their sweet taste, berries are low in sugar. They’re great for a snack or to add to unsweetened yogurt for a morning meal. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all fantastic choices.
- Read your labels. There are many names for sugar. You might be eating quite a bit of it without realizing it. Next time you go grocery shopping, plan for some extra time to read the labels of the items you’re interested in.
Stretch Your Way to a Better Workday
Most people have jobs today that involve sitting and being on a computer. Are you one of them? If so, you’ve likely experienced problems related to this type of work. It’s easy to recognize if your chair is comfortable, but there are many aspects of ergonomics that may not have occurred to you, or that you can’t change due to your work circumstances.
When we’re staring at a monitor, our bodies are in a fixed position. If your head moves forward even just an inch or two to read what’s on the screen, it can cause serious neck pain and headaches. Your shoulders are often rotated forward, too. These positions add up to plenty of discomfort. But what can be done?
To tame the tension, consider stretching.
Research shows that regular stretching will actually reduce pain in the shoulders and neck. Studies indicate that daily stretching will allow you to
- Boost your stamina
- Manage your pain
- Improve your sleep
- Increase your blood flow
- And more.
Making time for quick stretching breaks can even increase your productivity – a benefit at work as well as at home.
Stretching can be adapted to any fitness level. It’s not just for people who attend regular yoga classes or can bend themselves into pretzel-like positions. You can stretch in as little as 2-3 minutes, or repeat them and take your time for a longer stretching session.
While many people enjoy stretching in the morning, it can also be a great relaxation tool to use before going to bed. Stretch as a part of your nighttime routine, and these gentle movements will encourage your body to release relaxation hormones. It’ll help create the best possible conditions for quality sleep!
Here are four simple stretches you can start doing now, whether at home or in the workplace:
- The toe toucher: Stretch your legs straight out while seated. Reach out with your arms, trying to touch your toes, or get as close as possible without experiencing discomfort.
- The ballerina: Lift one of your arms up straight, then bend to the opposite side of your body. Keep your back upright the whole time without hunching your shoulders.
- The backwards clasp: Hold both arms behind you and clasp your fingers together. Pushing your chest outward and upward.
- The shoulder raise: Raise both of your shoulders at once, holding for a few seconds, then lower the shoulders again.
If you find that any are painful, refrain from doing them, or try to stretch without overexerting yourself. As usual, if you have any concerns, be sure to talk to us about it.
Stretching is one area that we may be able to help you with, too. As practitioners with extensive knowledge in the human body, we can assist you with mobility concerns. We will give you stretches that are appropriate for your level of health and abilities.