Sugar is everywhere, but it is not our friend. The American Heart Association says adults should limit daily sugar to 6 tsps (25 g) for women and 9 tsps (38 g) for men. Yet, the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) every day. To give you an idea of what these numbers mean; many flavored espresso drinks contain 25+ grams of sugar. So, how can you combat the sugar frenzy and limit your added sugar intake?
- Read Packages – it’s unbelievable how much sugar can be in “healthy” packaged foods. Read labels to see how much sugar they contain. Here are some common sugars found in foods: corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, malt syrup.
- Check Your Mood – why are you reaching for the sugary snacks? Are you stressed, hungry because you skipped a snack/meal, sad? Find ways to combat those feelings and better manage them. Stressed – exercise, talk to a friend, meditate. Hungry – don’t skip meals; plan out your day, eat healthy fats and protein to keep fuller longer. Sad – talk to someone; go on a walk and talk with a friend; do something that makes you smile.
- Drink Water – have water be your primary beverage. If you love coffee or tea try adding just a little milk and skipping the flavored syrups.
- Limit, Don’t Completely Cut it Out – everything in moderation. When we try to go cold-turkey it often results in a binge fest. It’s better to limit sugar and plan it into your weekly diet (ie. have a birthday party to attend and know you’ll have some cake? Then skip your vanilla latte and go for a regular coffee with milk)
- Don’t Fake It – Artificial sweeteners are all the rage, but could they be doing more harm than good? When we eat sugary foods our body expects calories, but when the sweetness isn’t followed by calories, such as with artificial sweetners, our body craves those calories and we often end up replacing them with other food sources, which can lead to weight gain. read more
- Eat Sweet Whole Foods: When the sweet tooth kicks in reach for some sweet fruit with natural sugars instead of a candy bar.
- Halloween Alternatives: with halloween coming up, here’s a quick strategy to keep you sugar-light! Hand out toys, stickers, spider rings, small playdoh, glow bracelets, bouncy balls, etc. This way you won’t be tempted by leftover candy.
What other ways can YOU reduce added sugar in your diet?