We all know we should cut back on the amount of sugar we eat. After all, research reveals that sugar is pro-inflammatory in our bodies and may contribute to chronic disease progression. There are no USDA guidelines for sugar (yet) but the American Heart Association recommends no more than:
- 9 teaspoons a day for men (36 grams)
- 6 teaspoons a day for women (24 grams)
- 3 teaspoons a day for children (12 grams)
Just remember 3-6-9!
Seems easy, right? Just cut out the cookies, cake, candy, and soda. Wrong. Although those are OBVIOUS sources of sugar, ADDED sugar is lurking in many foods we don’t usually associate with sugar.
These foods are packed with sugar
Sugar can be found in places you wouldn’t expect, like:
It doesn’t say sugar on the label
And worst yet, you don’t always see “sugar” on the nutrition facts or ingredients list, it goes by many names: dextrose, (evaporated) cane juice, corn syrup (solids), high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, acesulfame K, aspartame, sucralose, and sucrose to name a few.
7 easy ways to keep added sugar at bay
Learn to read labels
The easier it is for you to identify added sugar, whether by the ingredients list or the under “Total Carbohydrates > Sugar”, the better off you are to make better choices.
Swap flavored yogurt for plain yogurt
Add fruit for a natural sweetener, cinnamon for flavor, or chia seeds for crunch.
Drink less sugar
Cut down on the sugar you add to coffee, tea or anything you add sugar to. Start by using just half as much and you’ll be surprised how little a difference it makes in taste.
Switch your cereal
Trade your sugary cereals for something more “grown-up.” Read labels to find a boxed cereal that has less than 5 grams/serving (use this list to help) or, try hot cereals such as oat bran, cream of wheat, oatmeal, and muesli. Overnight oats, chia pudding, and yogurt with bran are all great, easy breakfast options.
Use things that are naturally sweet
Add shredded or flaked coconut to yogurt, cereal, salads, and pancakes for a sweet topping that’s also packed with healthy fats!
Watch the flavors
Just say “no” to adding flavor to your daily latte. If you can’t stand it plain, rethink this daily indulgence and cut back to once a week.
Hot chocolate, Ovaltine, and many instant chai lattes are packed with sugar. Make them the old fashioned way at home for a healthier alternative.
Eat real fruit
Exchange your orange juice for an orange (or whatever fruit juice you like). Eating the real fruit adds fiber, water and contains only the fruit’s natural sugars.