Cutting back on sugar is “gnarly,” admits convert Sarah Wilson—author of I Quit Sugar—but it’s far from impossible.
Whether you’re hoping to quash immune issues (like she was), get your gut or skin in check, or stop feeling generally “blah,” here are Wilson’s insider tips for cutting back on the sweet stuff.
She’s gone three years (and counting!) without any form of sugar at all, so it’s some seriously hard-earned wisdom.
1. Stop drinking fruit juice—a glass of apple juice contains as much sugar as a can of Coke. Have your green juice with vegetables only.
2. Avoid low-fat products. The makers of low-fat processed foods typically replace the fat with sugar, Wilson says, so an individual container of plain, natural low-fat yogurt can contain up to six teaspoons of sugar. Go for full-fat instead—you’ll eat less overall, and your body won’t have all of that excess sugar to convert into fat.
3. Ditch the “health-food” bars. Even a nutrition bar that boasts “no added sugar” can be full of dried fruit, which is up to 70 percent sugar. (Here are the worst to watch out for.)
For the long haul…
1. Learn to cook. “It doesn’t have to be fancy,” Wilson says. “My recipes contain four or six ingredients.” And she doesn’t accept having a teensy kitchen or a hectic life as excuses—I Quit Sugar is full of make-ahead recipes like Cheesy Green Mish-Mash Soup, which Wilson freezes in individual jars that are easy to carry to work. “Learning to cook is the most empowering thing you can do for your health,” she says.
2. Rethink breakfast. It doesn’t have to be about sweet, sweet, sweet. (Wilson likes to point out that cereal is not the best choice and was invented as an antidote to sexual promiscuity. But that’s for another article.) Eat quinoa or soup for breakfast. Or at least eggs. Go savory!
3. Embrace coconut oil. “It’s my secret weapon,” Wilson says. “It helps you lose weight, kick-starts metabolism, and is a great anti-inflammatory.” She mixes a little with raw cacao for an after-lunch chocolate fix.