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Here Are 18 Incredibly Doable Ways To Eat Less Sugar

Tips and tricks that will make cutting down on added sugar a little bit easier, from people who've been there.

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Sugar is definitely DELICIOUS. So trying to limit your intake of added sugar can be really rough when you're first starting out.

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(BTW, added sugar just means sugar that's added to food during manufacturing or processing. So, like, not the naturally occurring sugar in fruit and dairy. Check out this link to find out more about what added sugar is and how to know if you are eating too much.)

So we asked the BuzzFeed Community what their tips and tricks are for making eating less added sugar a whole lot easier. Here's what they had to say!

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1. First things first: Don't try to quit added sugar cold turkey.

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"I started out slowly when I cut out sugar so that I didn't lose it. I read a lot of labels, and reminded myself often of the adverse effects sugar has on my body. I made slow but effective changes, and that really made the difference."

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2. And enjoy things in moderation — fully restricting yourself from the things you love could make things harder.

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"It’s also important to remember that not every bite of sugar is bad for you. If you want that cookie and you haven’t had a cookie in a while, go and eat that cookie. Don’t sacrifice your happiness for a sugarless diet."

zoembrown2002

3. Make healthier lifestyle choices in other areas of your life — it will make eating less sugar much more manageable.

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"The biggest changes that I really made were making sure to get enough sleep at night so I wouldn't have to supplement with coffee or have cravings for bad food, making sure to drink a ton of water, avoiding buying the sugary/ultra-processed foods at the grocery store, and cooking the vast majority of my meals at home so I could focus on vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Making other healthy lifestyle choices naturally helped me cut down on added sugar in my diet."

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4. Do your research: Learn how sugar affects your body, and learn to read nutrition labels.

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"There was a period of time where I did a lot of research. I learned to read nutrition labels on food products and figured out what fancy words actually just meant sugar. That was eye-opening.

I learned about the impact of sugar on my body, and why eating a lot of it is actually bad for you. That helped me better create a diet that works for my body. Slowly I adjusted and realized that I didn't crave sugar the way I used to."

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Take this quiz to see if you can recognize all the sneaky sources of added sugar on a food label.

5. Then find out which foods, condiments, drinks, snacks, etc. are loaded with added sugar and which are not.

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"Then I simply started eliminating things with too much sugar in them, so soda, juice, candy, etc. My first thing was cutting out desserts with refined sugars and processed stuff. When I had a craving, I made a chocolate sauce with raw honey, coconut oil, and good dark cocoa, and dipped fruit in it.

Then I started making my own things that have hidden or lots of added sugar: salad dressings, jams/jellies, oatmeal, bread, etc. I also started looking for alternatives to products that typically have sugar: ketchup, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce. It took me about 1.5 months to get used to it, and honestly I've never felt better."

mrsh810

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6. Use apps like MyFitnessPal to track how much sugar you're consuming on a regular basis — if tracking seems like it would be helpful.

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"I started tracking my food using MyFitnessPal and realized how much sugar I was consuming. Now I try to make sure that I've only consumed 25g of of sugar, depending on the day. It’s a huge, huge lifestyle adjustment and takes a lot of commitment! But it's doable and will definitely be worth it."

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7. Keep go-to snacks that are relatively low in added sugar on you at all times.

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"If you have healthy, lower–added-sugar snacks on you, you'll be less tempted to eat whatever sugary thing you're craving throughout the day."

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You can go to 21 High-Protein Snacks To Eat When You're Trying To Be Healthy for more options.

8. Stick to protein and complex-carb–heavy foods for breakfasts instead of sugary granolas and cereals.

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"Instead of having cereal for breakfast, I now make a protein shake. Cereals and granola have a ton of added sugar, and I feel so much better now that I'm not starting off my day with sugary breakfasts."

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You can go to 19 Healthy Breakfasts That Will Actually Fill You Up for more options or this quick guide to the protein in 24 foods so you can eat more without that much effort.

9. Start eating more fruit and using it to naturally flavor your drinks and foods, instead of eating/drinking things that are artificially flavored.

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"I stopped buying things like flavored yogurt. Instead, I would buy plain (not vanilla) Greek yogurt and add defrosted frozen fruit for breakfast. Frozen fruit is great because it has a lot of liquid when it thaws, so the yogurt ends up being full of flavor. Also, adding fruit to water tastes great, and is much better for you than high-fructose corn syrup fruit juices."

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10. Try to avoid meals that are loaded with simple carbs.

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"I fount that carbohydrate-heavy meals tasted good, but would ultimately make me feel sluggish, lethargic, and hungry again within a short period of time. So if I am going to eat carbs, I try to make them complex carbs — sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc. I also try to eat the protein on my plate first or eat it generally before putting the sugar-loaded stuff in my mouth."

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Here's more info on the difference between complex and simple carbs.

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11. Sign up for grocery services like CSA (community-supported agriculture) to make eating fresh and healthy whole foods more convenient.

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"We signed up for a CSA grocery service this year through which we got a box packed with produce from local farms every single week. This replaced a lot of the processed foods we used to eat and also meant we ended up eating out a lot less, which cut down on our sugar intake tremendously."

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12. Bring stuff like hummus or meat and cheese platters to potlucks and work events.

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"I did small things like instead of bringing cookies and doughnuts to work, I would bring in a veggie tray or a tray of meats and cheeses. The little things, like what you're snacking on, will really make a difference."

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13. Try to cut down on soda by switching to things like seltzer and La Croix — NOT diet sodas.

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"Sodas have an incredibly high amount of sugar, and diet sodas aren't any better for you. So a couple years ago, I decided to try and cut it out by drinking more water and seltzer, like La Croix. The few times I've had a sip of soda since, all I taste is the overly sweet syrup."

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14. And seriously increase the protein in your diet so that you're fuller for longer and might crave sugar less.

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"The best thing I did was add more protein to my daily diet. I started drinking protein shakes and eating a lot of grilled chicken and grilled shrimp. I find that I am so full after meals that I don't crave sugary sweets."

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You can go to 19 Protein-Packed Dinners That You'll Actually Want To Eat for some high-protein options.

15. Stay away from low-fat products.

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"Also, protip: Whenever they take the fat out of something (like anything labelled 'light' or 'low-fat') they usually put sugar in the product to make up for the lack of flavor. Fat isn't bad for you — it actually gets you necessary nutrients and helps keep you full. Buying full-fat products will actually help you cut down on added sugar."

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16. Try to put less sugar in your coffee and tea, and maybe cut out sweetener altogether one day.

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"I also learned to drink my coffee black and iced tea unsweetened. It took some time and required me to slowly use less and less sugar every day. But now I'm at the point where, if I have anything with sugar, it tastes disgustingly sweet and I just don't enjoy it anymore."

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17. Find lower-sugar baking and cooking alternatives that you can use in your recipes.

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"I love baked goods, so I found alternatives for sugar-heavy ingredients. Dates are a really great natural sweetener."

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18. Finally, remember that learning what works for your body is a process of trial and error, and that not everything you read is going to get you the results you want.

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"Most of all, remember that all bodies are different. And that means not everything is going to work for you and that’s okay! Sometimes it takes some experimenting to figure out what makes you feel better."

zoembrown2002

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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Shannon Rosenberg is a health writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Shannon Rosenberg at shannon.rosenberg@buzzfeed.com.

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