How To Cut Back On Sugar
In today’s world, sugary foods can be found everywhere, and sweet treats are associated with both positive and negative emotions. Celebrating a birthday or promotion? Order a cake! Trying to get over a breakup? Eat a pint of ice cream. It’s no wonder that many of us overindulge on sugar and then wonder why we feel so sluggish.
According to the American Heart Association and World Health Organization, the daily recommended sugar intake for women is no more than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar, and men should consume no more than 38 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar. However, many Americans have quite the sweet tooth and consume 17 teaspoons or 71.14 grams of sugar on average per day.
You may be surprised to hear that average and think: there is no way I consume that much sugar! But did you know that one, 12-ounce can of soda contains as much as 46.2 grams or 11 teaspoons of sugar? That one can of pop contains almost double the recommended allowance for women, and well surpasses how much sugar men should consume on average per day.
The daily recommended guidelines cover sugar in general, but there is a big difference between natural and added sugars. Natural sugars appear in foods containing fructose and lactose, such as fruit and milk. While added sugars are exactly that — any sugar added to foods during preparation or processing, including adding sugar to your cup of coffee or tea.
Added sugars are referred to under many names depending on the specific type of sugar that is added during preparation. Food or drinks with ingredients such as sugars or sweeteners, molasses, syrup, honey, or chemically manufactured sugars, like high fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrates, are all considered added sugars. While all sugar consumption should be limited, foods with added sugar in particular should not make up a large part of your diet.
It’s easy to overconsume sugar when you don’t really look at the contents of what you are eating. Make it a habit to look at nutrition labels; you may be surprised by the amount of sugar in your favorite everyday foods. Here is a list of some common foods containing added sugars:
- Soda, energy drinks and sports drinks
- Fruit drinks, like fruit punch and some juices
- Baked goods, like cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, pastries and even bread
- Dairy, such as yogurt, coffee creamer and ice cream
You can still enjoy these foods by limiting how often you eat them, and when you do indulge, doing so in moderation. Prioritize eating whole foods, like lean protein and vegetables, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer and with less of an inclination to crave something sweet.