Sometimes, it’s the small changes in our lifestyle that have the biggest impact on our wellbeing. One healthy change you can make is to give up adding sugar to your coffee or tea.
Did you know that the average Briton consumes around a whopping 140 teaspoons of sugar each and every week? Needless to say, this large amount of sugar far exceeds the recommended intake by the NHS. When you cut back on your sugar intake, you’ll experience a wealth of benefits, from helping you lose weight to overall improved health.
Everyone knows that excessive consumption of sugar leads to weight gain. The sugar you add to your coffee and the sugar contained in sodas and sweets are the leading cause of obesity in our time. So ditch the sugar and look into healthier alternatives; the kilos may come off just like that!
There is a strong link between sugar consumption and heart disease. A study from 2014 found that drinking just three cans of sweet soda every day can dramatically increase the risk for heart disease. When you wean yourself off sugar and stay away from sugary snacks, your risk for cardiovascular diseases will be much lower!
Sugar does give you energy, but the boost is normally short-lived and comes with a steep drop-off afterwards. The “sugar crash” will only makes things worse; you will feel even more tired and your body will crave even more sugar.
Studies found that just a couple of sweet, sugary drinks per day can severely decrease our immune system’s ability to attack harmful bacteria and pathogens. What’s worse, this effect will then last for several hours. Stay off the sugar, and you can greatly reduce the risk for infection and disease.
When determining how to cut back on the sugar in your coffee or tea, it’s first important to consider how much sugar you actually consume on a daily basis. It helps to know that one teaspoon of table sugar has about 16 calories. Obviously, if you’re only drinking a cup of tea per day with one spoonful of sugar, this might not be enough to really worry about. Some folks, however, load up as much as eight spoons of sugar for a single cup! And of course, there are those who drink eight cups of tea or coffee every single day. So look at your own tea and coffee consumption to see how much sugar needs to be given up.
Of course, the sugar that you put in your cup of joe isn’t the only sugar you’re consuming in your diet. Ironically, a lot of people who fixate on the amount of sugar in their drinks are also taking in large amounts from other foods. As such, it’s a great decision to consider your total sugar intake—not just sugars you manually add to food and drink. Also, be aware that sugar doesn’t just mean your ordinary table sugar. Foods such as pastries, sweets, pasta, and breads are rich in highly refined carbohydrates and contribute to a high sugar intake as well.
The World Health Organisation recommends no more than six added teaspoons of sugar every day. So, if you’re drinking a cup with two spoonfuls of sugar, you’re already consuming a third of the recommended added amount.
Sometimes, we use sugar to disguise the poor taste of low-quality coffee or tea. Rather than drinking a cup that would taste horrible without a sweetener, consider purchasing better quality products instead. When you like the taste, you may not feel it necessary to add sugar.
There’s no denying that quitting added sugar cold-turkey can be difficult for your body to adjust to. The good thing is, you really don’t have to take such a drastic approach. The best way to give up sugar (and many other things, for that matter) is to gradually reduce your intake. Your taste buds will be less shocked by the changes if you reduce your intake by half a teaspoon at a time. This will help you minimise cravings and will make the whole process of cutting back easier.
People commonly think that substituting sugar for zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia is the better alternative. This may be true when purely considering calorie content; however, health experts are cautioning that these “healthier” sweeteners can train our bodies to prefer sweet-tasting foods and drinks, as opposed to helping us detach from the idea that everything needs to taste sweet. In some cases, loading up on artificial sweeteners we believe to be “safe” can result in a much greater energy intake than one needs.
As with most things, staying reasonable and using moderation are helpful when ushering in any positive changes in one’s life. If you try to completely cut out all sugar, you may find it quite difficult to keep up this diet, perhaps breaking and indulging in an excess of sugar as a result. Simply be mindful of how much is too much and make the necessary changes.
What’s more, sometimes people tend to blame sugar as the only culprit of their weight gain, when there are in fact other lifestyle issues at play. Counting the teaspoons of sugar you add to your tea or how many cans of soda you drink is one thing, but don’t forget all the other factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. While cutting back on sugar is without question a great start, know that regular exercise and a balanced diet are just as important for losing weight and staying healthy.