According to research, sugar is one of the most common causes of weight gain and diseases that are commonly linked to it. This calls for a radical movement to sensitize people on the dangers of sugar and how to break the addictive habit of eating sugary foods. Below is a list of tips that will help you eat less sugar and, ultimately, go sugar-free.

Dr. Michelle Hauser, certified chef and nutrition educator and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School says:

"The harmful effects of sugar are primarily due to the weight gain from added sugar in the foods we eat and sugar-sweetened beverages. Most of the deaths are related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes."

Unfortunately, it is these sugary foods that are most common in the food industry. So, in a bid to eat it guilt-free, many people claim that the human body needs some bit of sugar.

But how much sugar do we actually need?

According to the AHA guidelines, NO. The guidelines say women shouldn't get more than 100 of our daily calories (about six teaspoons) from added sugar, while men should limit their intake to 9 teaspoons (37.5 grams). Dr. Hauser says this means that "you don't need any added sugar."

If you are finding it hard to break off the habit, try these few tips:

Here are a few suggestions to help you break the sugar habit:

1. Keep sugary foods far from you

There is no need to put yourself through the pain of resisting the sweet treats in your fridge or cupboards. Instead, stop stocking them and buy fruits instead. These are yummy, filling, and best of all, remain healthy even when eaten in large amounts!

2. Don't skip breakfast

Believe it or not, starting your day with a hearty and nutritious meal can help you cut back on snacking on soda and other sugary treats. Include filling food items like eggs, lots of fruits and oats are top breakfast recommendations.

3. Sweeten foods yourself

Yes, go for the unsweetened version of food items like yogurt, oats, and iced tea. When about to eat them, add sweetening yourself. This will help you curb your sugar intake because no matter how much you add, you'll never add as much as the manufacturer would have.

4. Watch for hidden sugars in foods

Dr. Hauser advises that people be cautious of eating foods that hide sugar, e.g., products that boast of low fat.

Hauser:

"When companies take out the fat, they add back almost all the calories in sugar."

So, always read the labels of every packaged food item before paying for it. Watch out for words like brown sugar, cane nectar, etc.

5. Learn to love the sugar-free lifestyle

There are many reasons to go sugar-free; it is a choice you are making to promote good health, so scrap any feeling of deprivation that may surface.

If you're addicted to sugar, don't try to eliminate all sugary foods at once. Instead, gradually reduce the amount you consume each day and substitute for wholesome foods like lean protein, fruits, grains, and vegetables.

"When you get used to eating fewer super-sweet things, you crave them less. You become more satisfied with less sweet things," says Dr. Hauser.

Source: www.health.harvard.edu