Added sugar... Not so sweet?
Confession time… I love soda.
I know-I’m an RD, therefore I’m not supposed to love it. Right? HECK no. 99.99% of dietitians still eat like the average person at least some of the time (*not an actual statistic), and some, unfortunately, hide that fact (which is a whole other issue).
Soda is like cake or alcohol-generally inflammatory to your body, especially in large quantities, but PERFECTLY FINE to enjoy (HOLD THE GUILT) every now and then (*unless you have a medical condition that makes you especially sensitive to alcohol or sugar, like liver disease or diabetes, of course).
How often you choose to partake is up to you. There are no “good” or “bad” foods- foods have no moral value- but every food available to us definitely has a different nourishment factor.
I’ve been on a quest my whole life to kick added/refined sugar, and guess what? Like many goals in life, it’s never a done deal. Each day takes work, some days more than others, and while your palate and tolerance CAN change (some things definitely taste too sweet to me, or make me nauseated later), it’s important to be mindful about everything you consume. How does it make your body feel (check in with all 5 senses)? Mindful eating shouldn’t get to the point of compulsion or stress, so if you’re feeling that, talk to an RD (like me!) about intuitive eating.
The key to success in the quest to reduce your added sugar intake is to take it gradually. When I was in high school, I would add so much sugar to my hot tea that it would cool it down (yay, science!) and not even be hot enough anymore to dissolve it all. One day, I swigged that last sugary sip of sludge left at the bottom of my mug, and felt... disgust. That day, I decided I would start putting less sugar in my tea. 4 tablespoons became 3, then 2, then 1, then 1 teaspoon, and now, I usually drink my tea plain, with no sugar added. Sometimes I like a bit of honey if the flavor profile calls for it (orange, honey, or green tea go nicely). While honey does qualify as an added sugar, it has a lower GI index (it doesn't spike your blood sugar as drastically as refined cane sugar, and it comes with a number of nutrients, enzymes, and other molecules that benefit your body. It has a higher fructose content than cane sugar, too, so you need less of it to get that same level of sweetness.
If soda is your struggle, you can do the same thing... reduce your multiple cans to just one can a day, then start buying those small (8 oz.) cans, and just have one of those each day. Then try every other day, and so on, until soda is only enjoyed at parties or dinners out, or never again, depending on your goals. Flavored carbonated waters are refreshing, too, and make up for that tongue-tickling sensation you may miss. Of course, making sure you're drinking enough water each day can go a long way in reducing your soda cravings (which could be at least partially just thirst), and will contribute to your overall health.
What steps are you ready to take today to reduce your excess sugar intake from sugar-sweetened beverages? If you need help... you know where to find me.