3 Dietitian-approved tips to eat less sugar
- 2 Minutes Read
It is true! We should all try to eat less sugar, knowing that most of us consume far more added sugars than we realize. The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of added sugars per day. Here's what you can do to cut back wherever sugar may be hiding.
Added sugar in food provides flavor, enhances texture, and serves as a preservative. On the other hand, consuming excess sugar adds empty calories. If you are working hard to lose weight, you'll want to pay attention to the sources of all of your calories.
Good news! Cutting back on added sugars helps you make room for whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Such nutrients give you long-lasting energy and fullness in far healthier ways than sugar.
The 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of calories from added sugars. In comparison, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6% of calories from added sugar. If you follow a 1500-calorie budget, your limit would be between 23-38g per day, depending on which guidance you follow.
From drinks to packaged foods to restaurant fare, there are plenty of hidden sugars waiting to set you back from your goals. Don't despair! Check out our swaps and suggestions to help you eat less sugar without feeling deprived.
You are not alone if you are still drinking regular sodas, energy drinks, or flavored lattes. Sugar-sweetened beverages still account for a significant portion of added sugars in the typical American diet. Try these low-sugar drink options instead.
Traditional jarred pasta sauce found in the grocery often contains added sugars. Some sauces contain six grams of added sugars for a 1/2 cup serving. Read the ingredients closely and purchase those without sugar in the ingredient list. Even without adding any sugar, tomatoes naturally contain some sugar, so don't worry if you can't find a sauce with 0 grams of total sugar. Remember, it is the added sugar you are trying to reduce. Want more control over the ingredients in your sauce? Consider making fresh tomato sauce. This recipe is bursting with flavor from red wine and fresh basil.
If you and your kids love peanut butter and jelly, read on. This American staple may contain more added sugar than you realize. Between the bread, peanut butter, and jam, you may be eating 16g of added sugar in one sandwich! Eat less sugar by choosing sprouted grain bread (0g of added sugar) and natural peanut butter (0g of added sugar). Swap jam for banana slices, which offer a hint of sweetness. You'll be amazed. Pretty soon, you won't miss the jam or jelly.
Added sugars occur in a lot of packaged foods. Manufacturers add sugar to their products because it improves the taste and it impacts the product's texture, color, and shelf life. Everyday products with added sugars include granola bars, yogurt, and cereals.
Next time you shop at the grocery store, consider comparing your favorite items across different brands to find the lowest in sugar.
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