7 Smart Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet

Christine Byrne
by Christine Byrne
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7 Smart Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet

While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a craving for a scoop of ice cream or margarita every so often, too much sugar has negative health effects and can be detrimental to weight loss. The FDA recommends getting no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars, and defines them as sugars added during processing or packaging. This includes syrups, honey and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices with more sugar than would be expected from the same volume of 100% fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.

Naturally occurring sugars in things like fruits, vegetables and dairy are much more nutritious than added sugars, because they come with important vitamins and nutrients, as well as fiber and protein that slow their digestion and make them a more steady source of energy.

Finding ways to swap added sugar for naturally occurring sugar (or to cut down on sugar altogether) is a good idea for both your energy levels, and your overall health.

Here are seven simple ways to get started:



Packaged cereal, granola and yogurt often contains sneaky amounts of added sugar — and using honey, maple syrup or another sweetener yourself can add up if you’re not careful. Instead, opt for plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit and some nuts. Or make overnight oats with a hefty pinch of cinnamon (which can make things taste sweeter, even though it’s sugar-free) and later stir in chopped fruit and some unsweetened nut butter.



Search for a store-bought granola with no more than 5 grams of added sugar per serving. KIND Peanut Butter Granola Clusters fit the bill, as does Bear Naked Granola V’nilla Almond. Both are lightly sweet, packed with whole grains and contain healthy fats from nuts.



Drinking a daily coffee with a spoonful of sugar is a habit that could sabotage your weight loss goals. Instead, try a high-quality cold brew, or the increasingly popular nitro brews, which have a deeper but less-biting flavor than traditional drip or steeped coffees, making them easier to drink plain or with a splash of milk.



Pre-mixed drinks like margaritas, daiquiris and fruity sangrias are loaded with added sugar since bartenders often rely on pre-made sour mixes or flavored syrups. If you want to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, try making these lower-sugar versions at home.



A little added sugar in pies is helpful for bringing out the sweetness of the fruit filling and creating an ideal texture. However, in most cases, you can cut the amount of sugar called for in your favorite recipes by 1/3, or even by 1/2 — smaller amounts still work well for turning already-sweet fruit into a more indulgent, but healthier, dessert.



If you’ve ever eaten a blueberry in January, you know offseason produce isn’t nearly as flavorful as in-season picks — it’s less sweet, more tart and often less colorful. What fruits are in season and for how long depends on where you live, so your best bet is to ask vendors at your local farmers market.



Flavored bubbly water is a great option in lieu of sugar-laden soda, provided you look for ones that don’t have added syrups or sugar. Try a can of La Croix or make your own fancier version by combining plain seltzer with some mashed and sliced fruit.

About the Author

Christine Byrne
Christine Byrne

Christine is a trained chef and recipe developer who recently relocated from New York City to Durham, North Carolina. She started her career as a restaurant line cook, then became a food editor at BuzzFeed, and later the features editor at SELF. Follow her on Twitter @christinejbyrne and on Instagram @xtinebyrne for lots of breakfast photos, outdoorsy things, and really cute videos of her dog, Boss.


12 responses to “7 Smart Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet”

  1. What a superb tips to cut sugar from our daily diet. We should know that too much sugar craving make a negative impact on health and can be detrimental to weight loss. So thanks for sharing this blog that deals seven tips to reduce sugar craving from our diets.

  2. Avatar Mary Spiropoulos Eisen says:

    Sugar is the new heroin. I see it in my own family and we are glad to be doing a Keto Diet!!!

  3. Avatar Sparkles says:

    I stopped adding sugar to my coffee. Every little bit helps.

  4. Avatar Flattery says:

    If you can’t stand the unsweetened bubbly water, try something with an all natural sweetener like Zievia.

  5. Avatar Karen Arkin says:

    Actually acid and salt bring out the sweetness in fruit. Try adding some kosher or sea salt and fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, and using in season, ripe fruit, which should be plenty sweet. Also can scrape a vanilla bean into the mix for “sweet” spice and depth.

  6. Avatar kitty says:

    I recently dropped 15 pounds, with 10 to go. One problem…I love coke. Is there a bubbley water…not salty seltzer…that has reasonable flavor. At 73…bubble are sometime necessary. Thanks

    • Avatar Irony101 says:

      I just read that carbonated waters (seltzers, club sodas, etc) have carbolic acids, which still are not good for the enamel on our teeth.

      I like fruit flavored carbonated waters, but do not have alternatives other than home made diffused citrus fruit waters.

  7. Avatar Mango says:

    The phrasing of the 2nd paragraph is bizarre. Naturally occurring sugars are definitely not “more nutritious.” Sugars, natural and otherwise, are totally devoid of nutrition. It’s the vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit and vegetables that make them nutritious. The fiber contained in them allows their sugar to be absorbed slowly by the body during digestion, which is less impactful on your insulin levels than if you were to guzzle fruit juice, soda, or candy. But let’s not give the impression that naturally occurring sugar itself is in any way necessary or nutritious just because it’s in fruit, it’s just not and you still have to limit your intake. I’m guessing this is what the author is getting, but could really have communicated that much more accurately than she did.

  8. Avatar Justice League says:

    get away from bread. it’s sugar city. pay attention to your spaghetti sauce. buy one made with whole tomatoes with no added sugar. buy peanut butter w/ no sugar. i like Crazy Richards brand. Chunky rules! steer clear of yogurt with fruit already added. use plain and add your own fresh fruit. same with oatmeal. try plain w/ some cinnamon and some walnuts. tasty!

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