Last updated September 7, 2017 by Lisa Richards, CNC

8 Tips To Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Refined sugar

Sugar in food comes in many guises: corn syrup, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose, glucose, fructose, invert sugar maltose, hydrogenated starch, maple syrup, lactose, sucrose, sorghum, turbinado sugar, molasses, and more. In fact, there are at least 56 different names to watch out for on your ingredient labels. And watch out for it you should, because sugar is highly addictive.

According to the USDA, the typical American eats about 128 pounds of added sugar every year. Such a high sugar intake can leave you vulnerable to gut dysbiosis, Candida overgrowth, and yeast infections. But it’s also alarming in many other ways. For example, researchers say that you’re twice as likely to die of a heart attack if you get 21% of your calories from added sugar compared to someone who gets 8% of their calories from added sugar.

Other studies have found direct links between sugar intake and higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and lower levels of HDL cholesterol. High sugar intake also promotes the production of inflammatory chemicals that raise heart disease risk. Other common issues associated with high sugar intake are type-2 diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.

Reducing your sugar intake and switching to a low-sugar diet can help to protect you from Candida and other health issues. This is the perfect time of year to make a conscious effort to deal with your sugar addiction. Here’s what you can do about it:

1. Cut down on the sugar you drink

You may be surprised to notice how much sugar you’re consuming in drinks. A few spoons in your tea/coffee, a fruit juice with lunch, or a soft drink when socializing – these can all take your sugar intake to a higher level. Cut down the amount of sugar you consume in drinks gradually, and you will soon notice that your taste preferences start to change too.

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Even the “healthier” flavored waters can contain large doses of sugar. A perfect example is Vitamin Water, which typically contains a massive 31 grams of sugar in each bottle.

2. Find low-sugar alternatives

Simply substituting your favorite high-sugar food with low-sugar variants will do the trick. This isn’t about losing weight but about cutting down your daily sugar load.

3. Know the total sugar content in your food

Fruits and other natural sources of sugar have their nutritional benefits, but they are still sweet and can lead to addiction. You will always end up wanting more. This is especially true if you’re consuming too much fructose. Be mindful of your total sugar intake by paying attention to how much of it is coming from fruit sources. In the initial stages of a Candida diet, it might be best to avoid fruits entirely.

4. Keep an eye open for hidden sugar

It is important to be able to identify sugar in all forms in the foods that you buy. Manufacturers are very clever with the words they use in ingredient lists.

You probably know that the first ingredient on a food label is the one found in the largest amount. If the first ingredient was ‘sugar’, would you buy that food? Probably not. Producers know this, and so they often split up the sugar into three or four different types. For example, the third, fourth, and seventh ingredients might be molasses, sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup. In this case, sugar might still be the largest ingredient, but many casual shoppers would not realize it.

You’ll find sugar in all sorts of foods, many of them really surprising. These include chewing gum, pasta sauce, cough syrups, mints, and baked beans. Even some prescription medications come loaded with sugar. So, be vigilant and scan every food label before making your purchase.

5. Learn to go slow

The key to losing your sweet tooth is to reduce your sugar intake gradually. Some people struggle to go cold turkey; they end up craving more. When you’re preparing for your Candida cleanse, be sure to trim down your sugar consumption in the week or two before you start.

Begin by switching from candy bars and desserts to nuts or fruit. Make your own food so you know what the ingredients are. Keep making adjustments every week. If you’re serious about beating Candida and getting your gut flora back to normal, consider cutting back on your fruit too.

Once you create a new habit of a low sugar diet, your cravings will subside. You will find that once your sweet tooth disappears, those hyper-sweet snacks you used to eat become almost inedible. When you’re starting out in your battle against sugar, remember that small changes over time will prove more sustainable than a drastic all-or-nothing approach.

6. Know When And Why You Eat Sugar

Some people consume sugar out of habit, while others use it as a stress-coping mechanism. It seems a good way to release stress since it’s easy and always accessible. Pay attention to your behavior and take note if you’re adding more sugar in your life just to satisfy your emotional hunger. Switch to other more effective and healthy coping mechanisms such as yoga, meditation, therapy, or other similar exercises. Something relaxing like a simple breathing exercise will make you feel better in the long run than turning to sugary snacks. Our Candida treatment program contains a whole book devoted to identifying and reducing stress.

7. Add Savory Foods to Your Diet

Eating less sugar often affects you emotionally, but you can avoid the doom-and-gloom feeling of reducing your sugar intake by introducing savory foods in your diet. Try new combos of savory foods, be more experimental, and enjoy all those savory alternatives that you haven’t tried yet.

8. Work through Social Challenges

Once you have decided to reduce your sugar intake, you don’t just have to deal with your inner sugar cravings but you have to tackle several social challenges on the way. How can you say no to sugary food on weddings, birthdays, and other annual occasions? Cheating occasionally won’t hurt too much, but try to get right back on track if you can. It’s all about becoming more aware of your sugar habits in social situations to make it easier to manage.

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  1. Gwenda says:

    Before we go down the route of blaming sugar for every illness and disease can someone lease look at the fact that ASPARTAME is the cause of at least ninety different diseases including cancer, diabetes and obesity, and the utter surge of all these diseases us because if the over use of this poisonous substance that is in nearly everything, everything that people are eating and drinking thinking they are cutting down on sugar.
    Parents are feeding their children with low sugar this low calorie that, infactvthey are killing their children, as most if them contain aspartame… America has been trying to ban it for years,miss total poison.
    It’s even in yoghurts, medicines, tablets, sweets, drinks foods, some waters…….check it and leave it, and kick up a stink about that before we blame sugar…..

    1. Lisa Richards says:

      Neither added sugar nor aspartame are good for us 🙂

    2. Cheryl says:

      When it comes to Candida control, sugar intake is key at keeping this in check. Seems to me that Lisa is sticking to that topic, and not suggesting that
      ASPARTAME is a great alternative. This site has helped me greatly, before I found it, I didn’t have a clue what was ailing me. Now I know, and I know
      what I can and can’t eat. I know now that 1 major enemy is SUGAR when it comes to candida overgrowth, and when I overdo it with sweets, I know for a fact
      that I have a flare up. The message I took away from the Article is to reduce sugar intake, naturally.

      1. jane says:

        Read Monsantos article published years ago about the dangers of Aspartame…when it reaches a certain temperature it turns into formaldehyde. So be warned whenever its stored, either in a hot car, warehouse, transport truck, heated thru baking , etc. Its poison.

    3. Deb says:

      I don’t consume aspartame or any sweetener substitutes and still have problems. I always notice more symptoms when I have too much sugar – Over the last four days I’ve had two paczki, several cans of full sugar pop, 8 oz of choco covered cashew clusters, two donuts. I woke up this morning with a flair up. I’m convinced – sugar is the culprit.

      1. Christie says:

        The reason sugar is so bad for those who suffer from candida overgrowth is that Candida feeds off sugar, their excretement is alcohol, so you are literally “self brewing” and that’s why you will get similar symptoms to a hangover: bloated, swelling, inflammation, blurred vision, brain fog, mood swings etc. Stop the sugar and starve the yeast! Also keep in mind one thing I didn’t see mentioned in the article is that simple carbs and starches when processed by the body will also spike the blood glucose (sugar) levels thus causing the same effect as having sugar so stick with complex carbs and lots of fiber and green veggies.

  2. olive parker says:

    My husband was just in the hospital and was placed on a “cardiac diet”. Ridiculous. You would not believe the things he was served. Canned fruit for one until I got smart and ordered fresh fruit. Also boxed mashed potatoes. Frozen boxed waffles with a packet of pancake syrup. First ingredient in the syrup was corn syrup, 2nd was HFCS, 4th or 5th was caramel color. On the buttery spread label, first ingredient was soybean oil and then another horrible oil after that……I did get a chance to vent to a student (a very overweight one at that) who came to discuss his diet. He never came back to the room. I did see him and asked him if he was coming back to see us and he said no and that he had decided to lose weight. Even the “registered dietician” was at least 50 pounds overweight. I cannot take advice from someone like that.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks for the stereotypes. Don’t come to my er. I’d hate to save your life.

      1. Mill Dickson says:

        Why is a fact labeled a stereotype simply because you don’t like it? Hasn’t political correctness wreaked enough havoc in our society? When does it end? Tell yourself lies, fine, but don’t expect everyone to play along.

    2. Kelly says:

      Nooo… You effectively stepped on your own toes by disrespecting people who are just trying to help. 🙁 I simply brought my own food in for my husband and mom when they were stuck in the hospital… and kindness goes a very long way.

    3. Naomi says:

      Thanks for the laughs! Do you write stand up comedies?

      1. Lucy Smith says:

        This is the first healthy eating argument of over 40’s mothers I’ve seen since thanksgiving!! You go gal pals!! (sarcasm)

  3. Molly M. says:

    I, too, struggled with mainstream dietitian advice when my mom was hospitalized for 8 days and then moved to acute rehab for 10 more. I follow a pretty strict all-natural diet (not organic per se, but definitely no chemicals, no additives, limited white sugar, no fake sugars, etc.). They wanted her on a cardiac diet but she also suffers from COPD/breathing problems, and some of the things on the cardiac diet (dairy, for example) can be challenging for people with lung issues. They also served plenty of sodas and things like Boost/Ensure that are filled with fake sugars, which are especially tough for people with breathing issues. When my husband and I tried to substitute Orgain (an all-natural, organic version of Boost/Ensure), the dietitian got in my face and told me to butt out and leave it to her. She was crazy! You HAVE to be your own advocate in these situations (or for a loved one if that’s the situation). Most Western medical doctors and dietitians will have zero understanding of things such as candida that Lisa addresses here. Don’t waste your breath trying to educate them; focus on what you can do instead to advocate for healthier alternatives and you CAN bring in your own food for someone in the hospital or rehab.

  4. rm chilufya says:

    Indeed sugar is the greatest enemy to ones health it causes brings about a lot of discomfort to our well being . I say so because I just used to take locally produced juice on an empty tummy as breakfast because of the addiction to sugar and I ended up with this so called Candidiasis which is now clearing after going through your 8 teachings believe me you I don’t want to go back to sugars any more. Thank you for your helpful lessons stay blessed

    1. Sherry says:

      How long did it take to clear up? My doctor has me taking nystatin and a probiotic along with a candida diet ….

  5. Robin Manes says:

    After listing my symptoms to an employee at a supplement store, she told me about how I should look into Candida. Through Internet research, I discovered the Ultimate Candida Diet by Lisa Richards. My main symptom was memory issues which I had seen doctor or two for to no avail. I’d even had an MRI done as well as some memory testing which definitely showed some memory issues that were very significant. But still was not getting any help, so I decided to try the diet. Lisa’s book was easy to read and explained everything to me so that I could understand it. So I follow the diet as best I could and had pretty miraculous results but it took quite a while for my memory to start getting better. But the results but I noticed right away was my allergies were like almost nonexistent where normally I was struggling during the spring and seriously considering getting shots. I would spend night sleeping on the couch so that I wouldn’t end up with the annual sinus infection. But I didn’t even need a tissue, my allergies were almost non-existent except for itchy eyes and ears. No sinus issues at all. I quickly discovered that sugar was thickening the mucus which was making me worse during my allergy seasons. It was also the reason that I used tissues all year long. Because I didn’t really need tissues at all anymore once I significantly reduce my sugar and carb intake. It was a bit of a struggle because I was very addicted to sugar. I also noticed that my fatigue level went away after a while of being on the diet and my memory started to improve. I was also having significant hair loss issues which were so bad that I would have bald spots throughout my head. I had been following in my grandmothers footsteps, she had a noticeable bald spot by her mid forties and I was quickly approaching that age. But I had realized my hair loss had to do something with my allergies because the hair loss always started back up in the spring and would go away by the end of the summer. My hair would start to grow back through the fall and winter, but with each season it was getting worse. I was starting to get the same bald spot on the top of my head as she had described. During the spring when I was on the diet my hair loss never took place so reducing my sugar and carbs stopped my hair loss . I discovered that avoiding sugar and carbs needs to be lifestyle change until I can be sure that these things won’t reoccur. Eating healthier has definitely made me feel better and I did finally get to a point where I wasn’t craving sugar all the time. I strongly now believe that sugar especially things like high fructose corn syrup are causing so many problems with people’s health today.

  6. Bryan Dillon says:

    Sugar is not a bad thing, over dose of sugar is bad! What is most challenging is knowing what to avoid since most every food product with several ingredients is loaded with sugar or other sweeteners because people crave it.
    My dad was addicted to an ice tea one summer and he thought it was healthy to be drinking it because it said on the label natural green tea with honey. When he gave it to my son I read the ingredients and found that it was full of high fructose corn syrup. He was shocked to hear that it wasn’t a healthy drink and that I’d rather him not give it to his grandson.
    Reading the ingredients listed may seem like a daunting task and at first it could be. My advice is not to purchase anything with a long list of ingredients or thing that you don’t know what they are.
    Now I can scan ingredients and there are a few that my eye will catch and i simply put it back on the shelf.
    In order of importance i avoid
    High fructose corn syrup or other non sugar substitutes
    Modified corn starch
    Artificial colors
    Preservatives .
    Also if I can’t pronounce it or know what it is i try to avoid it.

  7. Star says:

    Thank you so much for all of the stories and helpful advice! I just found this page and I love it! Thank you all! I am ready to start my sugar less, sugar free journey!

    1. Kelly says:

      Really enjoying the site! I’ve been fighting candida for over a year now because I’ve had a hard time staying on a sugarless diet. Nice to hear stories from others doing better then me and now I have some new recipes to try. There still might be hope for me yet!

  8. Vera says:

    I have never done this but I am planning on giving it a try. I am a sugar addict; stevia has been my alternate for sugar.
    I am hoping some of my headaches, ear ringing, and digestive issues may cease to exist. I will do the gradual cut backs. I have tried eliminating it all together before and that lasts maybe a couple days. I can use all the healthy comments and suggestions as possible.
    My sister in law has introduced this information to me and I greatly appreciate her.

  9. Chibuzor Aguwa says:

    High consumption of sugars is vast becoming a scare, with the knowledge of Type 1 diabetes. Thanks for this useful information.

  10. Diane says:

    I am struggling with psoriasis that I believe through past experience is directly related to Candida overgrowth , high toxic levels , histamines , and basically and inflammatory issue. I have been a sugar hound for a long time. many years ago , a homeopathic consultant put me on a detox diet and had me eat poison oak as a remedy ( the form) . the rashes I had all over my face for 11 years dropped off in a week . I know this psoriasis has its roots in that same rash from years ago . I hope this detoxing and Candida diet helps .

  11. Lori says:

    I cannot stress how greatfull i am to read all of the statements made. I suffer from a wide variety of symptoms that have been mentioned by several of you and have been given general diagnosis from doctors to explain them, with no releif. Im tired of being sick all the time. I get lower right side pain, nausia, chronic sinus infections headaches, i get joint pain a day or two after eating breads, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, foggy headedness, and i just feel crappy all the way around and didnt know what to do anymore. Its worth a try for sure. I know i need to be healthier and I have sugar issues. Good luck to you…..and thank you.

    1. Beth says:

      Have you been checked for celiacs? I had all those symptoms and more for months before I was diagnosed.

  12. Bertha says:

    Thanks for the info this is the first I read of this Candida. I feel like most of this people I need to cut down on my sugar. Thanks

  13. Bridgette Beal says:

    I said YES to every single question on the quiz. Egaads!
    I have been on a long journey to reduce and ultimately remove sugar from my diet. I am one of those people allergic to everything, who used to live on fast food and soda and it caught up to me. I switched to diet soda and while I initially hated the taste, I soon came to crave it. I also liked being a part of the Diet Coke Lovers community. (Silly isn’t it?) I had some rather sever reactions to aspartame after years of heavy use and cut it out cold turkey. Went back to real sugar and realized my cravings for sugar halved! So I realized I was on to something. I just landed here trying to help a friend and all this seems doable! ♥

    I love that she recommends going slow. I have found that the idea of “change 1 thing” works very well for me. I have a rather rebellious nature and have struggled with following diets and such. I did baby steps the whole way. 1 soda/day to half. Half to every other day. Etc. Now I drink mainly coffee in the am (with sugar to be honest) and water the rest of the time. Occasionally I just really crave a real Coke and open one only to have 2 sips and I’m done! The sugar in my coffee has halved and I’m about to halve it again. I changed my sugar treats to things that are “really worth it.” If I’m having ice cream, I’m having Hagen Daaz! I keep dark chocolate and nuts in my desk drawer for ’emergencies’. I feel like for the first time, I could actually make these changes stick and get beyond this horrible issue.

  14. Helen mays says:

    My skin allergies have cleared up from going on the candida diet. One week has made a difference. I usually drink red wine but have had none. I think it has to stay gone. Ah well.. life lived with less stress is more appealing.

  15. Elisabeth Kenney says:

    I quit sugar and went to splenda three years ago. I cannot have aspartame due to my ‘MS. Now you want me to switch to Stevia which has an aftertaste, or xyltiol. Why are they better then Splenda?

  16. Jackie Oliver says:

    Wow, I learned so much from reading this. It’s crazy that on average, we eat so much sugar! I think that starting a diet where I cut out that excess sugar would be such a great idea. After reading this, I’m seeing just how important that would be. From here on out, I’ll be sure to check my foods and drinks to make sure I am cutting out sugars.

  17. Actually learning what has sugar in it and what doesn’t is a good way to modulate your intake. Something else I would suggest, in line with finding low sugar alternatives, is to get healthy sugar substitutes. You are going to want to make sure to do research on them before trying them, see if they are actually going to be healthy for you, but if you are able to find one that works for you and tastes good then you will be much better off.

  18. Renae Leith-Manos says:

    People who got between 10 and 25 percent of their calories from added sugar were almost three times more likely to die of heart problems than those who consumed less than 10 percent of their calories from sugar. Article is perfect to crack sugar addiction.

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