Need a sugar fix? Think again. Studies show consuming too much sugar has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. That’s why health experts say it’s important to be mindful of your sugar intake.
A Harvard study recently discovered the following statistic regarding sugar consumption. “Over the course of the 15-year study, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.”
So how do you practice moderation when indulging your sweet tooth? We’ve covered everything you need to know in this blog post regarding reducing sugar in your daily diet.
The Proper Amount of Sugar You Need Daily
The American Heart Association suggests that the average male should consume less than nine teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day whereas the average female should consume less than 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day. Monitoring your sugar intake is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can help to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrition your body needs.
How To Eliminate or Reduce Your Sugar Intake
By monitoring your sugar intake, you can maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of developing dangerous health conditions like obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar and incorporates healthy sources of carbohydrates and proteins can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, which is essential for good health. Additionally, reducing your sugar intake can help to reduce your sugar cravings and improve your overall diet.
Not sure where to start? Here are small changes you can make to reduce your daily sugar intake.
- Eliminate Added Sugars
The first step to decreasing the amount of added sugar in your diet is to eliminate the amount of sugar you add to foods, such as cereals and coffee. You can also limit the amount of sugar-based foods you consume, like cookies, cakes, and desserts.
If you can’t eliminate all at once, start by cutting in half what you normally would consume, and slowly decrease the amount of sugar you eat each day from there.
- Cut Back on Sugary Drinks
Did you know an average can of Coca-Cola contains 35g of sugar? That’s more sugar than the average male or female should consume in one day. Sports drinks, sweetened teas, and coffees can also have extreme amounts of added sugar.
Drinks that are often considered ‘healthy,’ like fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies, can also have a high amount of added sugar. Instead of reaching for these drinks, try flavoring water with a slice of fruit or a splash of fruit juice.
Other alternatives to sugary drinks include:
- Sparkling water
- Herbal or green teas
- Coffee (without added sugar)
- Eat Whole Foods Instead of Low-Fat Foods
‘Low-fat’ variations of foods, like peanut butter, yogurt, and salad dressing, are appealing because they seem healthier. However, the truth is these processed ‘low-fat’ foods often contain a lot of added sugar and other processed ingredients.
Instead of reaching for these low-fat processed foods, reach for whole foods that contain naturally occurring fat, like meats, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Pairing whole foods with limited servings of these ‘full-fat’ foods will help eliminate added sugar in your diet.
- Avoid Condiments with Added Sugar
One of the easiest ways to eliminate added sugar from your diet is to remove the “hidden” added sugar. Most people don’t take note of the added sugar in condiments. For example, one serving (one tablespoon) of ketchup contains about one teaspoon (five grams) of sugar.
Look for condiments and sauces that are labeled low or no sugar. Some good sugar-free condiments you can enjoy with your meals include:
- Soy sauce
The Sweet Truth About Sugar
Consuming too much sugar can be detrimental to your overall health and may put you at a higher risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious health problems. Monitoring your sugar intake is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can help to ensure that you are getting the proper nutrition your body needs.
It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor about ways to reduce sugar intake. Additionally, your physician may recommend that you meet with a dietitian to develop a low-sugar diet that can help you improve your overall health.