1. Forget Soft Drinks (±27.5g sugar per cup)
Soft drinks and flavored sodas. There are hundreds of soft drink varieties all over the world and they all have one thing in common. At full strength of say regular cola, or lemonade, they contain 27.5g of sugar per cup. That’s almost 7 teaspoons in a serving. Now you wouldn’t put 7 teaspoons of sugar in your cup of tea, would you?
Alternative:Try a Tea Soda (<1g of sugar per cup)
To make Tea Soda: steep 2 tea bags of your favorite herbal tea (rooibos, etc.) in 3 cups of boiling water. Chill. Add 1 cup of sparkling mineral or soda water. You’ll have instant flavored fizzy drink with nearly no sugar. Not to mention the lack of coloring and other additives.
Tea flavor infusions to consider: mint, cranberry and pomegranate, strawberry, blackcurrant, chamomile and lemon.
If you really can’t break the soft drink habit, try diluting the regular soda with water. Start at half/half then go as low as 10 parts water to 1 part soft drink. You will be surprised how sweet the full strength version will taste after a while.
2. Swap Fruit Juice (±24g sugar per cup)
Fruit juice. Many people are surprised that juice, hailed to be healthy and containing “no added sugar” and (the added) benefit of vitamins, is often sweeter than soft drinks. While having 3 teaspoons of sugar in an apple is fine, it takes 2-3 apples to make a full glass of juice and no fiber to hold back your appetite. You do the maths.
Alternative: For Lemon Water (<1g of sugar per cup)
To make Lemon Water: add a teaspoon of lemon juice to a glass of water and mix well. While you are still having juice without the added benefit of fiber, lemon juice has quite a strong taste which won’t disappear when diluted 10:1 in the refreshing concoction.
3. Say No to Sports Drinks (±21g sugar per cup)
Sports drinks. bright blue, yellow and red screams artificial coloring. Then there is sugar, about 16.5g per cup. Sure many of the drinks claim to have the added benefit of vitamins and minerals, but that’s what they are – synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals created in a lab. Sorry, but no thanks.
Alternative: Replenish with Coconut Water (±13g of sugar per cup)
Unlike so many sports drinks and vitamin waters that can be as much as 40 per cent sugar, coconut water is an all-natural, single source drink that is not only relatively low in sugar compared to regular sports drinks, but it’s a great source of natural potassium which helps our body reach optimum hydration and recover after exercise.
4. Quit Flavored Milk and Milkshakes (±25g of sugar per cup)
Flavored Milk and Milkshakes are mainly aimed at children. Again, if you look at any nutritional label of a commercially-made flavored milk, I bet you that one of the first ingredients you’ll see on that list (in Australia they are required by law to be in descending order), will be sugar, about 25g (or 6 teaspoons) per cup. There is also most likely to be artificial flavors – who has seen a banana as yellow as its skin?
The same goes for milkshakes as most of them are made with a sugar-based, flavored syrup that has nothing to do with the real fruit whose flavors it’s trying to imitate.
Milk is naturally sweet from lactose – a sugar that’s ok to have because it behaves differently to table sugar. Naturally, there is no need for added sweeteners.
Alternative: Try Milk with the Basics (±12g of sugar per cup)
To make Chocolate Milk: try adding a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder or cacao nibs melted in a little hot milk. For a milkshake add ½ an avocado or a couple of cubes of frozen coconut cream and blend.
To make Vanilla Milk: use a teaspoon of organic vanilla essence instead of vanilla syrup. For a milkshake add ½ an avocado or a couple of cubes of frozen coconut cream and blend.
To make Fruity Milkshakes: and add half of a fresh or frozen banana or 4-5 strawberries per cup before blending to make healthier versions of the classic milkshake flavors, with the natural benefit of fibre.
5. Banish Bottled and Powdered Iced Teas (±17g sugar per cup)
Bottled and Powdered Iced Teas. Don’t be fooled by pre-bottled mixes, advertising their antioxidant properties and so forth, because we live in times where floor polish is made from natural lemons, while lemonade is made from lemon-like flavorings concocted in a lab.
Lipton Iced Tea with Lemon ingredients’ list reads as follows: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Instant Tea, Sodium Polyphosphates, Natural Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preserve Freshness), Caramel Color, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor) and Red 40. It also contains almost 17g of sugar per 250ml. Enough said.
Alternative: Mix Tea + Ice (<1g of sugar per cup)
It’s much cheaper to make it yourself, and extremely easy too. You can even make a larger batch and stre in the fridge in a jug or a bottle.
To make Iced Tea: Pick your favorite flavor tea bag, prepare in a large (4 cup) jug and cool. Add ice and voila. You could add fresh mint, lemon or orange slices to the mix as well if you like. A little honey (about 1 teaspoon to a cup) should also be ok if you’re craving a sweeter treat. No need for anything else…
6. Skip Bottled and Powdered Iced Coffee (±22.5g of sugar per cup)
Bottled and Powdered Iced Coffees. Again, both powdered and bottled coffees contain very little coffee and plenty of “padding” and sugary fillers. One brand’s “Just Natural” iced coffee has 22.5g of sugar per cup. Some of it is lactose which is fine, but the rest is added sugar!
Alternative: Mix Coffee + Ice + Milk (±7g of sugar per cup)
To make Iced Coffee: the iced coffee concept is fairly simple. Coffee with half a cup of ice cold milk, and ice if available.
If you are serious about weight loss, then you need to stay away from any sugar and sugary drinks. Flavor your drinking water with slices of lemon, cucumber, mint leaves, etc. and drink 1,5 to 2 liters per day.
Download the free Manna Diet e-book which explains all the health benefits of water.