Eating excess sugar isn’t good for your health. The added sugar in processed foods, sweets, and sodas has been linked to heart disease, obesity, cancer, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and other chronic health issues.
Research shows that sugar makes up about 12-16% of an American’s daily calorie intake. This translates to about 13 to 22 teaspoons or 55 to 92 grams of table sugar you consume every day.
However, the American Dietary Guidelines recommend that you consume added sugar in amounts less than 10% of your total calorie intake.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you need to consume added sugar at less than 5% of your total daily calorie intake for optimal health.
Despite these important recommendations, cutting sugar intake isn’t easy. The empty calories in some beverages, desserts and candy can increase your blood sugar levels and cause diabetes. Here’re a few simple ways to keep tabs on your sugar intake to enjoy a heart-healthy lifestyle:
1. Swap Soda with Water
Avoid drinking sugary beverages because they contain unhealthy sugars. If you’re trying to lose weight, opt for water instead of sugary drinks. Water is hydrating and has many other health benefits. However, if you must take a sweetened drink, diet drinks are a healthier choice.
2. Eliminate Table Sugar from Your Diet
Cut back on the amount of sweeteners you add to your drinks such as coffee and tea, pancakes, and cereals. Reduce your sugar intake by half and move on from there.
If possible, eliminate white and brown sugar, molasses, and syrup from your diet. Opt for healthier alternatives such as Erythritol, Stevia, Xylitol, fruit sweeteners, and Yacon syrup.
3. Sweeten Your Cereals with Fruits
Add fresh fruits such as cherries, bananas, and strawberries to your oatmeal or cereal for a sweetened taste. You can also use dried fruits such as cranberries, raisins, and apricots as sweeteners to replace processed sugar.
4. Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies are low in calories and contain healthy sugars, making them a perfect alternative to processed sugar. Natural juice and canned, dried, or frozen fruits are healthy.
If you opt for a canned fruit, make sure it has no heavy syrup. However, you can sieve the fruits in a colander to drain excess juice or syrup.
5. Replace Sugar with Spices
Spices such as allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon are taste enhancers. Use them to completely replace sugar for tastier and healthier meals.
6. Choose Products with Low Added Sugar Amounts
Read food labels and pick products that contain low amounts of processed sugar. Find the ingredients list to see how much added sugar is present in a food product you want to buy. Fruit and dairy products usually contain healthy sugars.
7. Use Extracts in Recipes Instead of Sugar
Use vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, and other natural extracts in recipes instead of processed sugar. You can also substitute sugar with unsweetened applesauce.
You can also eat your meals in small portions and cut back on pastries such as cakes, cookies, and brownies. When choosing alternative sweeteners, ensure that they are nutritive for better health.
Contact us at MediPlan Diet Services at (901) 362-7546 to learn more about healthy living and how you can cut back on sugar intake. Our weight loss programs in Tennessee and Mississippi will help you transform your eating and your health.