Too much sugar can put us all at risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Having sugar in moderation is fine, but many of us don’t know when enough is enough.

“The only things that smell good are fat and sugar. Tofu being boiled doesn’t smell good. Anything that smells good is fattening.” – John Madden

Cutting sugar from your diet can be incredibly beneficial for your health. Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig says, “We need to wean ourselves off. We need to de-sweeten our lives. We need to make sugar a treat, not a diet staple.

Most people tend to have a bit of a sweet tooth and think cutting out soda and candy will suffice. This is a good start, but there are even better tricks to getting sugar out of your diet. Health experts have all kinds of ways to help you eliminate sugar from your diet and give your body a boost. These five tricks will make your diet well-rounded and sugar-free.

Health Experts Reveal 5 Ways To Eliminate Extra Sugar From Your Diet

1. Fresh fruits over dried fruits

Fresh fruits have sugar in them, but they’re way better for you than fruit juices, or dried fruits. Dried fruits are basically pure sugar. “Since it is dehydrated, the sugar [and the] calories are concentrated in a relatively small amount of food, which means it can be very easy to eat a lot of them without really realizing it. This is the reason why it only takes 1/4 cup to make up a serving,” says registered dietician Andy De Santis.

Apple juice, grape juice, and other juices are also pure sugar. While they’re delicious, it’s all because of the sugar. If you’re looking to eliminate some of the sugar from your diet, opt for fresh fruit instead of dried fruit or juice. Apples, berries, and grapes are great fresh fruits to add to your diet.

2. Switch to dark chocolate

Dark chocolate isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an acquired taste. But, if you’ve already acquired a taste for dark chocolate, you’ll be able to cut some sugar out of your diet. Milk chocolate is full of sugar, and most people don’t realize how much sugar they’re actually getting.  Not only does dark chocolate have less sugar, it also has many other health benefits for you.

Very dark chocolate could crank down your appetite by turning down levels of the hunger hormone,” says author, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist, Dr. Will Clower. It’s a little more bitter than milk chocolate, so you may have to become acclimated to the taste. However, if candy is your weak spot, the dark chocolate is a great substitute.

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3. Buy “unsweetened” food and drink

There’s a medley of things that come in both “sweetened” and “unsweetened”, like almond milk, canned fruits, different nut butters, and apple sauces. The “sweetened” versions of these usually come with a whole load of added sugar. Because they’re not foods we usually associate with sugar, we tend not to notice. But, our bodies sure do. When shopping for these specific foods and drinks, it’s best to go with unsweetened. You can also get “no added sugar”. Either way, you’ll be able to cut a lot of sugar out of your diet by choosing “unsweetened.” And to be honest, you probably won’t even notice the taste difference!

4. Drink tea

If you’re not a tea drinker, it might be time to start, especially if you’re looking to help control your sugar cravings. Eliminating sugar from your diet can be hard, especially when you get those constant cravings. Pouring yourself a cup of tea is a great way to soothe those cravings without cracking open a sugary soda. Chai or cinnamon tea can give you that delicious, sugary flavor without filling you up with sugar. If you need more sweetness, try melting some honey into your tea. It’s healthy, delicious, and has less sugar than soda or juice.

5. No more “low fat” or “not fat” foods

When fat gets moved from a type of food, usually so does a lot of the flavor. What food companies do in that case is to focus on adding sugar to give some flavor back into the foods.

When you have fresh foods like fruit and vegetables, they don’t even claim to be low fat because it’s self-evident. It’s the manufactured foods that are the problem. The food industry has worked out that saying a product is ‘very low in fat’ or ‘non-fat’ sells,” says Professor Kerin O’Dea.

If you’re trying to watch your weight, don’t get tricked into using low-fat foods. The sugar will do the same thing that the fat would have. So, enjoy the great taste of the full-fat foods and help cut sugar out of your diet at the same time.

Final thoughts

Sugar is tasty, but it isn’t the best thing for us. If you’re looking to cut sugar out of your diet and lower your risk of obesity or heart disease, these five easy steps are the right place to start. Everyone knows about cutting out  candy and soda, but these tricks will put you ahead of the game. Health experts all agree that these tips will keep you healthy and put you on the path to eliminating sugar from your diet.

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