Kick the Sugar Habit

Original Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr
Original Image by Moyan Brenn via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

The average American consumes 23 teaspoons of sugar a day. I don’t drink soda, eat convenience foods or canned fruit in heavy syrup, but I know I consume my fair share of sugar.  I’ve cut down my sugar intake to only one sugar packet for my coffee in the morning, but I know I need to be more aware of the added sugar I consume on a daily basis.

Even if you’ve made some dietary changes, it’s never a bad idea to evaluate what you’re eating and consider where your biggest culprits of sugar intake are.

Ways to decrease sugar intake:

  • Gradually eliminate soda from diet–replace with diet soda to reduce calories while still having your sweetness fix. Then, after a week, make the switch to seltzer with a slice of citrus–save 10 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • Opt for nuts, vegetables and fiber rich foods–apples, pears, instead of cookies, crackers, candy and/or energy bars–save 2-10 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • With fruit juice accounting for 10% of many consumer’s added sugar content, by mixing 1/2 juice and 1/2 water the diluted drink can pay off–save 2-3 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • Choose steel cut oats instead of Frosted Flakes–save 2-4 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • Change it up and grill your peaches, grapefruit and watermelon–save 2-10 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • Switch to plain Greek yogurt–by naturally sweetening one’s yogurt, it can help limit sugar.  Skip “fruit on the bottom” yogurts as their often higher in calories and sugar.  For an added punch, sprinkle on some cinnamon–save 2-4 teaspoons of sugar intake
  • Buy sugar free and/or low calorie drinks and products
  • Instead of adding sugar to baking recipes–use extracts such as vanilla, almond, orange or lemon
  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in applesauce
  • Enhance foods with ginger, cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg instead of sugar
  • Avoid canned fruit in syrup

So, how much sugar should you be consuming on a daily basis?  The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar intake to no more than half of daily discretionary calories allowance.  In perspective, for most women, that’s no more than 6 teaspoons per day and for men no more than 150 kcal/6 teaspoons.


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