What Strategies Help Clients Reduce Sugar Intake Without Feeling Deprived?


    What Strategies Help Clients Reduce Sugar Intake Without Feeling Deprived?

    Discovering the sweet spot in nutrition can be challenging, especially when it comes to cutting down on sugar without triggering feelings of deprivation. We've gathered insights from four experts, including Registered Dietitians and Wellness Coaches, on strategies to help clients reduce sugar intake. From incorporating controlled sugar portions to replacing added sugars with nutritious alternatives, these professionals share their top strategies.

    • Incorporate Controlled Sugar Portions
    • Focus on Mindful Eating and Addition
    • Practice Mindful Eating with Favorite Foods
    • Replace Added Sugars with Nutritious Alternatives

    Incorporate Controlled Sugar Portions

    Cravings and deprivation come where there's a 'lack' - whether that's perceived or a true physiological deficit. Sugar is not bad, and is a very important fuel source in the body. In a sense, most forms of calories are reduced to a simple form of 'sugar' that can move around in the blood and be used by cells. The recommendations exist from entities like the American Heart Association to reduce added sugar intake, not to stigmatize sugar overall.

    If sugar were bad, fruit wouldn't be considered 'healthy.' One recommendation I give clients is to find small ways to have something sugary throughout the day in smaller portions. That way, you get what you want in more controlled amounts and keep deprivation cravings at bay. For example, this could be some fruit with breakfast in the morning, a piece of chocolate or two with lunch, and maybe a small dessert before bed.

    Jay PatrunoRegistered Dietitian, NourishRX

    Focus on Mindful Eating and Addition

    Whenever we are talking about reducing intake, there is the risk of feeling deprived or resentful. These feelings can drive you toward those very foods in either emotional eating or binge-eating episodes. So, when you are eating more sugar than you know is good for you, more than feels good, how do you reduce it?

    There are two primary strategies that I work with my clients on: mindful eating and addition. Focusing on what you are adding, what you are eating or drinking in place of the sugary items, can make a large difference in avoiding those feelings of deprivation or resentment.

    Samantha Holmgren
    Samantha HolmgrenDietitian & Wellness Coach, Anti-Inflammatory Path to Wellness

    Practice Mindful Eating with Favorite Foods

    Mindful eating.

    Here's how it works:

    1) Choose your favorite 'sugary' food (for most people, it's chocolate).

    2) Hold a piece of chocolate in your hand, look at it, and smell it.

    3) Place it on your tongue for 20 seconds and reflect on its flavors.

    4) Then chew slowly while focusing only on the chocolate, the flavors, and the textures.

    A practical approach to mindful eating is to focus solely on the activity of eating. Often, we consume sugar, chocolate, or other snacks when distracted in front of the TV.

    But, if we can pay mindful attention to the action of eating and connect with the flavors, we're more likely to crave less.

    Mindful eating isn't only good for sugar consumption, but human clinical trials have now shown that mindful eating can lower overall calorie consumption and increase food enjoyment.

    Robbie Puddick RNutr
    Robbie Puddick RNutrContent & SEO Lead - Registered Nutritionist, Second Nature Health

    Replace Added Sugars with Nutritious Alternatives

    A strategy that I have used with clients who are aiming to reduce food products with added sugars is to replace them with another food. Rather than just cutting out foods that they enjoy, we find other foods that they like that have less added sugar and add those in. For example, I had a client years ago who really enjoyed two toaster pastries each morning. We compromised and swapped out just one of them and replaced it with oatmeal. We also made sure that the oatmeal had berries and cinnamon so it still tasted sweet. The oatmeal and fruit give them much more fiber and nutrients than the pastries did, and they still enjoyed their new breakfast.

    Jenna Stedman
    Jenna StedmanCognitive Performance Dietitian, Master Nutrition Lab