How much junk food do you eat a day? If you’re like the average American, almost 60% of your calories are coming from ultra-processed food loaded with excess sugar, salt, and fat.
While most experts agree that an occasional treat causes little harm in an otherwise balanced diet, these numbers are cause for concern. Large amounts of processed food can lead to weight gain, as well as an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Turn your diet around starting today. Follow these guidelines for making smarter choices about what you eat and drink.
Cutting Back on Sugar
- Switch to water. Soda consumption is declining, but sugary drinks are still the single largest source of calories for the average American. Drink water with a slice of lime or brew a cup of tea.
- Rethink your coffee. How much sugar are you putting in your coffee? Cut the amount in half each week. After a while, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Read your cereal box. A lot of breakfast cereals don’t live up to their healthy names. Check the labels for how much added sugar they contain.
- Serve fruit. You can satisfy your sweet tooth without candy and cookies. Snack on apples and peanut butter. Enjoy figs and cheese for dessert.
- Plan ahead. It’s easier to resist sweets if you’re already full. Eat balanced meals, and carry nutritious snacks around with you. Decide in advance which treats you enjoy most so you can save up your sugar calories for a cannoli or an ice cream cone.
- Go cold turkey. Maybe you want to give up refined sugar entirely. Experts say the cravings pass in about 72 hours, so you’ll be in good shape if you can outlast the temporary discomfort.
What you eat most of the time greatly impacts your overall health and well-being. Make whole foods that are low in sugar the mainstay of your diet.