Sugar and Spice

New dietary guidelines from the U.S.D.A. were announced this year, and they place  a lot of emphasis on cutting down on sugar. If you are someone who sweetens their coffee, or has dessert after every meal, this may sound scary, even impossible

Let’s start with this: Your body needs sugar in the blood (glucose) to live. But processed, refined sugars, are sugars that you can live without. Sugars such as lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (beets and sugar cane) occur naturally in foods. Your body
craves these foods when it needs sugar. Your body knows what it needs, and it’s probably getting too much.

Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes may not be the answer. If you are craving something sweet, have a little sweet made with real sugar, or even better, eat a piece of fresh or dried fruit. Frozen fruit may be better than canned, as the latter is packed in a syrup. If you
choose canned fruit, look for light syrup or “no added sugar.” Read labels!

Sometimes adding a spice can help lower the amount of sugar you use in recipes. A dash of cinnamon, a citrus rind, or a splash of juice might be just the thing to sweeten your tea, enhance that muffin recipe or satisfy a craving.

Be realistic. Giving up sweets totally is impossible. Set small goals and listen to your body. The smart course of action is to know which sweets you want keep in your diet and keep them handy. When you don’t have what you want, you grab whatever is handy, leading to poor choices, feeling guilty, and often overeating

Through the practice of mindful eating, you can coach yourself through a diet change that reduces the amount of sugar you eat. Listen to your body, experiment with eating less sugar, and acknowledge the positive change. Appreciate your good choices, and feel good about your healthy eating habits. The positive reinforcement can keep you on track.

Call our social workers anytime for motivating tips on making changes to your eating to be a little better today! 888-994-3863, ext. 2390.

For tips and other activities, go to:




“7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude” by Amy Morin in Psychology Today, available at

“Dietary Details To Chew On,” Los Angeles Times 1/16/16, p. F6