Sugar and bread may taste good, but they can raise insulin levels, causing an inflammatory response in your body. The result? Weight gain, reduced energy and premature aging. The Department of Agriculture reports that Americans' consumption of refined sugar and grains has increased significantly over the past 50 years. Although eliminating bread and sugar may not be easy at first, there are ways to adopt healthier habits.
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Make a list of your food choices during a typical week, paying special attention to any foods containing flour or sugar. Since sugar and bread are such a significant part of the American diet, you may be surprised at the amount of sugary and starchy foods you are consuming.
Eliminate obvious sources of sugar and bread, such as candy, cakes, soda and all white flour-based breads. Oprah.com notes that, if a food contains flour, sugar or other sweeteners, it is pro-inflammatory and should be avoided.
Familiarize yourself with food product labels. While it might be easy to spot products containing flour, it is more difficult to identify those with sugar, since it is found not only in dessert items, but also in many standard foods. Ann Louise Gittleman, the author of “Get the Sugar Out,” writes that high-fructose corn syrup, a corn-based sweetener, may be present in pasta sauces, salad dressing, yogurt and juices, among other foods.
Gradually replace sugar and bread with healthy substitutes. Replace sugary breakfast cereals with oats or muesli and choose fresh fruit instead of candy. Choose quinoa or beans as a side dish rather than bread or pasta and ditch sugary sodas for green tea or water with lemon.
Experiment with healthy recipes to better enjoy your bread- and sugar-free diet. Whether it’s a smoothie with fruit and coconut milk or a pizza with a cornmeal crust, there are various tasty treats you can create without any sugar or bread on the ingredients list. Healthy recipe books are available at bookstores or through major online retailers.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Department of Agriculture: Agriculture Factbook: Profiling Food Consumption in America
- Oprah.com: Pro-Inflammatory Foods to Avoid
- "Get the Sugar Out"; Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D.; 1996
- Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010