When it comes to cutting back on sugar, there are people and experts who swear by going cold turkey, and others who are sure the only way to make it happen is to cut back a little at a time.
Which is better? It depends on your natural style. You generally know if you’re a person who can handle small steps or prefers to just go jump into a different way of eating, and each approach can work to get the extra sugar out, says Karen Ansel, R.D.N., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging.
We say “extra sugar,” because while sugar is the villain du jour, experts aren’t saying you have to cut out sugar entirely. For one, the sugar in fruit doesn’t count as “added sugar.” They’re just recommending that men limit added sugars to about 9 teaspoons (or 150 calories) a day and women about 6 teaspoons (or 100 calories).
Most people eat more than that, which invites a host of health and wellness issues. So it’s smart to cut back. Here’s how to make it happen, according to your style.
If You Want to Cut Out Sugar Cold Turkey
Get sugary foods out of your cabinets.
To oust those foods from your diet, get them out of your home and give them away. “If they’re not there, it’s going to be a lot easier for you,” Ansel says.
Plan to “cheat.”
If you’re an all or nothing person, then while you’re doing very little sugar, go ahead and plan an “all” moment. Knowing you’ll have sugar at some point can help you get through not having it most of the time. If you do decide to have a few sweets a week, Ansel says, “there are a few things you’ve got to do. First of all, plan in advance when you’ll have it. And plan exactly what you’re going to have,” she says.
Then—and this is critical—“you have to eat it out of the house someplace. Go where you have to order it so you can’t go back for seconds,” Ansel says.