5 Things That Make It Easy to Dump Sugar in 2017

Say goodbye to sugar and say hello to variety and improved nutrition next year.


Sugar Tax?

Here’s a pretty promising bit of legislature being introduced in the United Kingdom — a sugar tax. If passed, the law would go into effect in 2018 and would increase the price of sugary sodas and soft drinks. The idea isn’t that crazy and actually found its inspiration here in the United States.

New York City introduced a sugary drinks tax that was ultimately defeated after beverage companies spent just under $10 million on advertising to keep sugary sodas cheap. In Berkeley, California, a sugar tax on soda has been in effect since 2014 and contributed to a 21 percent decline in soda sales. And Philadelphia just passed a soda tax.

The same taxing tactics worked to great success with tobacco — New York state, for instance, levies a $4.35 tax on every pack of cigarettes sold. Imagine a world where a 20-ounce bottle of soda costs $3 to $4. While the soda taxes in the United States and the proposed U.K. initiative are only a nominal increase in cost, it’s a promising sign that the dangers of sugar overconsumption are making their way to the mainstream.


Rare Sugars

There are many benefits of sugar substitutes, but they usually leave something to be desired in the flavor department. A new rare sugar, Allulose, is looking very promising — it’s a real sugar with 90 percent fewer calories. Quest used it in their Beyond Cereal Bar, and it’s a game changer. It has the same taste and feel of sugar with a fraction of the calories — and best of all, it doesn’t have a bitter, metallic aftertaste associated with other natural sugar alternatives. Rare sugars like Allulose are a great way to get your sweet fix without having to wait for cheat day.


Transparency About Sugar

Even though the research showed that sugar is incredibly damaging to teeth and the human body, the public was told saturated fats are the biggest threat to human health and sugar is fine for everyone. This happened 50 years ago, which according to the Center for Science and Democracy, 74 percent of foods available in the U.S. have some form of added sugar. 

This knowledge may make the possibility of avoiding sugar sound nearly impossible, but new reporting from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that sugar consumption is down 15 percent from its peak in 1999. As more and more consumers are made aware of the dangers associated with sugar, it forces the beverage companies to accede to consumer demands. Right now, it looks like sugar is in a losing battle.


Trade Sweets for Complex Carbohydrates

Even if you can’t have processed sugary sweets, don’t forget that nature’s got you covered. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, butternut squash and plantains have enough natural sugar to satisfy your brain’s sweet cravings. Complex carbs also have the added nutritional benefits of fiber, essential vitamins and the peace of mind that there aren’t any hidden ingredients. CrossFitters know exactly what energy drain feels like, and complex carbs are your ticket to ensuring you can make it through the WOD without collapsing on the mats.

Complex carbs don’t just give you the boost you’d get from a sugar rush; they instead provide sustained energy without spiking blood sugar like lower glycemic index carbs. After all, you want hours of energy, not minutes followed by a crash. 


Quest Labs

If there’s one thing 2016 taught us, it’s that Quest Labs is where you should go to get your low-sugar, high-protein fix. Sticking to the same meals week in and week out removes the enjoyment of a varied diet and makes it harder to stick to your guns. If meal prep removes the variety of eating, so too can chomping on the same protein bars and guzzling the same protein shakes.

Quest is regularly introducing new bars, chips and pretty much whatever it can come up with at its new food innovation site — and signing up is simple. Just recently, it introduced a protein cookie that’s set to take on leading so-called protein cookies (actually sugar cookies with a bit of protein sprinkled in). Quest Labs members got to try all three new flavors of Quest Bars and the Beyond Cereal Bar before they were released to the public. So if you’re starved for variety in your diet, Quest Labs might be a good place to look.