1. <b>DO: Put it in yourself</b>
<p>Did you know a medium double-double at Tim Hortons contains upwards of 22 g of sugar, almost your entire recommended daily allowance? That’s right: If you take your coffee with sugar and someone else sweetens it, you’re probably consuming way more sugar than you bargained for.</p><p><strong>Sugar detox strategy:</strong> Next time you order a cup of joe, sweeten it yourself using a sugar packet. Not only will you know exactly how much is being used, but you can also reduce the amount over time.</p>
2. <b>DO: Bulk up on high-fibre foods</b>
<p>Researchers at the University of Florence found a diet high in sugar and fat can alter gut microbes — and help those linked to obesity thrive. They compared children on high-sugar, high-fat diets with kids who ate high-fibre foods and found the ones who ate higher amounts of fibre had more diverse and better-functioning gut bacteria. Plus, fibre helps you feel full longer, which means you’re less likely to give in to those sweet cravings that typically strike at midday.</p>
3. <b>DO: Use spice for flavour</b>
Photo, Peter Garten/Stockfood.
<p>“We need to get used to less sweet as a whole,” says Ottawa-based obesity doctor Yoni Freedhoff. And whether you reach for honey, agave or white sugar, your body can’t tell the difference.</p><p><strong>Sugar detox strategy:</strong> Stock up on fresh or dried herbs and spices. Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg…there are so many ways to add taste (not to mention health-boosting antioxidants!) without the sweetness.</p>
4. <b>DO: Remember drinks count</b>
<p>Liquid sugar is one place we can all cut back. From alcohol to juice, many of our favourite drinks are laden with hidden sugars. In his book, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.ca/The-Diet-Fix-Diets-Yours/dp/0345813588" target="_blank">The Diet Fix</a>, </em>Freedhoff shares this surprising distinction: “Compared with Coca-Cola, per drop, wine has more than double the calories. The same can be said for fruit, which you should eat and not drink. A tall glass of OJ can have as much sugar as a soda.”</p><p><strong>Bottom line:</strong> “Fruit juices are not fruit,” says Freedhoff. If you love drinking juice or making your own, add more vegetables to the mix to avoid a sudden spike (and subsequent crash) in blood sugar. Vegetables are naturally much lower in sugar than fruit.</p>
5. <b>DO: Give yourself a 30-day limit</b>
<p>Reducing sugar over time is much easier than cutting yourself off immediately. Freedhoff warns that any diet that feels too hard won’t last. “Trying to be perfect is a bad plan when it comes to food,” he says. “If you feel like you don’t enjoy it anymore, you’ll quit.” Being kind to yourself (with the occasional treat) and making small adjustments daily is the key to success.</p><p><strong>Sugar detox strategy:</strong> Set a goal to cut your sugar intake by half within 30 days. Then cut it in half again after 60 days. You’ll be surprised how little of it you crave by then.</p>
6. <b>DO: Make your own ketchup</b>
Photo, Erik Putz.
<p>Did you know one tablespoon of ketchup contains about a teaspoon of sugar? Here’s our fix.</p><p><strong>Homemade sugar-free ketchup: </strong>Prep 20 min | Total 30 min</p><p>1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add 3 thinly sliced yellow onions and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until very soft and browned, 20 min. Add 1/4 cup water, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and stir until no liquid remains, 1 to 2 min. Stir in 2 rinsed, patted dry and chopped roasted red peppers and a 156-mL can tomato paste until warmed through, 2 to 3 min. Remove from heat, then add 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1/8 tsp salt. Season with fresh pepper.</p><p>2. Scrape into a blender and whirl until smooth. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week.</p><p>Makes 1 cup | Per tbsp 23 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbs, 1 g fat, 1 g fibre, 122 mg sodium.</p><p><strong>Kitchen tip:</strong> Press ketchup through a fine-mesh sieve for an extra-smooth texture.</p>