Various healthy diets have been garnering the spotlight in the U.S. for quite some time now, but are their influences increasing? On cutting down on sugar and bad fat, a recent research has revealed that Americans still source 50% of their calories from low-quality carbs and saturated fat. They get this from junk food and processed fast food and snacks.
But on the brighter side, the research data is more favorable on Americans’ consumption of organic produce. According to the Economic Research Service, sales of organic goods have been rising from 1994 to 2014, with a steady 10% annual growth over the past several years. Most Americans are found to believe that organic produce is better for their health compared to commercially-grown produce.
How To Cut Down on Sugar
The health risks of consuming too much sugar aren’t a stranger to many, if not to most. Sugars in food can be naturally occurring or added, with the latter being the unhealthy variety. As its name suggests, added sugar is a product of food processing, or something we add at the table, a.k.a. table sugar. Meanwhile, naturally occurring sugars are those found naturally in fruits (fructose) and milk (lactose).
Added sugars are found in regular soda, candies, baked goods, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, milk products, and some grains, specifically cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles. Added sugars don’t have any nutritional benefit, but rather, they add up your calorie intake which leads to increased weight. Limiting the consumption of food and drink with added sugar is highly recommended. The American Heart Association advises that women only consume around 6 teaspoons of added sugar daily at most and around 9 teaspoons at most for men. 6 teaspoons of added sugar amount to 100 calories, while it’s 150 calories for 9 teaspoons.
To satisfy your sweet cravings, load up on fruits instead. Fruits can be used to sweeten oatmeal and cereal. You can also make flavorful fruit smoothies with just the right amount of sweetness from their fructose. For fruit desserts on-the-go, choose canned varieties in water or natural juice.
If you’re willing to eliminate added sugars in your diet altogether, try substitutes such as vanilla, almond, orange or lemon extract, unsweetened apple juice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon (not cinnamon toast) or allspice.
Sweet Refreshments Without Added Sugars
All of us need sweet refreshments from time to time, and you don’t have to deprive yourself of yummy treats to be healthier unless that’s soda or any other drink with added sugars. Health experts would probably advise choosing water over anything else, but you can make water taste better by making the following healthy beverages:
- Infused water. Enhance your water by infusing it with freshly sliced lemons, oranges, limes or strawberries. You can also add crushed fresh raspberries or watermelon in it. In the summer, try infusing it with cucumber or fresh mint to quench your thirst.
- Organic fresh fruit juice or smoothie. Not all fruit drinks contain added sugar! If you need that extra boost of energy, make a juice or smoothie out of fresh and organic fruit, without adding syrup or other sweeteners. You can even profit from smoothies because they’re well-loved by many. If you’re interested to sell healthy and tasty smoothies, you may start a juice bar and smoothie business by buying a franchise.
- Seltzer water. Carbonated water can also be made healthy with fresh fruits or natural juices added to it.
- Tea. Fruit, herbal, green, white, and red tea are beneficial for the health, too, and they have little no to caffeine, unlike black tea and coffee.
If you start reducing your added sugar intake and consume products that are organic, you would contribute to a number of people shifting to healthier choices. You can even be a catalyst for the change if you’re an entrepreneur because you can attract a diverse market through your organic products without artificial sweeteners.