Year after year, adopting better eating habits tops Americans’ list of priorities for the New Year. According to a recent YouGov poll, 41 percent of American women listed eating healthier as one of their New Year’s resolutions for 2018, while 33 percent of men said the same. However, actually doing so is easier said than done. The good news? There’s one easy change we can make that will help us shed that unwanted weight, enjoy better physical health, and improve our moods, too: cutting out sugar.
According to the CDC, Americans adults are getting approximately 13 percent of their total calories from added sugar, which makes its way into our diet in everything from sweetened coffee drinks to tomato sauce. In fact, research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals that American adults consume approximately 146 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages alone on a daily basis. Fortunately, reducing those sugar cravings and making your diet healthier doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice.
So what’s the magic bullet for safely reducing the sugar in your diet? Sleep. According to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adult study subjects who were regularly under-slept significantly reduced their sugar cravings simply by getting more sleep. An average of just 55 extra minutes in bed, or 21 minutes of actual sleep, reduced participants’ sugar intake by an average of 9.6 grams. And considering that the average American gets just 6.8 hours of sleep a night, chances are a little extra sleep could benefit your diet, too.
While getting more sleep can significantly reduce food cravings, when it comes to editing your actual food choices, you may have to be stricter than you think. Although fruit can still be part of a healthy diet, most of us should be watching our intake of nature’s candy, too.
“Regular sugar intake is linked to a slew of health issues and those that consume it regularly can expect to deal with a higher incidence of diseases related to inflammation, immune system breakdown, faster aging, digestion issues, brain health deterioration, and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease,” says clinical nutritionist Ariane Hundt. “Sugar from fruit—fructose—is not better than sugar from other sources as fructose is converted to body fat much faster than other sugar, such as glucose. Therefore, fruit should be limited to about 20 grams of fructose per day.”
For most people, that means cutting your daily fruit intake to two medium apples, three bananas, or a few cups of berries each day. While you may be sad to see the sweet stuff go at first, the second those pounds start falling off, you definitely won’t mind missing out. And when you want to make every meal more nutritious, start with the 10 Painless Ways to Upgrade Your Diet!
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