University of California, San Francisco researchers estimate that the 130,000 new cases of diabetes documented between 1990 and 2000 could be attributed to the increase of sugar-sweetened drinks. Those who drink 1 to 2 servings of sweetened beverages are 26 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes than those who avoid such drinks.
Fortunately, men and women looking to curtail their sugar consumption can do so in a variety of ways.
• Enjoy a sugar-free or low-sugar breakfast. You may begin the day with a sugar rush if you consume too much sugar at the breakfast table. This will inevitably result in a sugar crash, after which you may overeat or gravitate toward more sugary products. Starting the day with whole grains and lean proteins is a healthier way to fuel the body at breakfast time.
• Stock up on fruits and vegetables. When you crave something sweet, grab a piece of fruit or a sweet vegetable, such as corn or beets. You will be consuming fewer calories and eating less processed sugar.
• Opt for whole grains. Whole grains have a lower glycemic index than refined grains, which means they won’t turn into a sugary powder keg in your body. They also will help you to feel fuller longer, which reduces the temptation for overeating. Use whole grain pastas and breads when cooking, and opt for these foods when dining out.
• Research the amount of sugar in foods. Read labels and ingredients to determine if sugar is hiding in the foods and beverages you consume. Anything that ends with the suffix “ose” is a derivative of sugar. Some restaurants will even add sugar to foods that don’t need them to make them irresistible and addicting, which is often the case with kids’ meals.
• Cut sweetened drinks from your diet entirely. Many people consume a substantial amount of sugar in their beverages. To avoid overconsumption of sugar, opt for water, unsweetened teas or diluted 100 percent fruit juice if you need something sweet.
By cutting down on sugar, a person can gradually reduce his or her dependency on the sweet stuff and not even miss it.