added sugar

Easy ways to cut back on added sugar

Added sugar is sugar or syrup that has been added to foods or beverages when they’re processed or prepared. And if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably consuming way too much of it every day.

Examples of products that contain added sugar include:

  • Beverages such as regular soft drinks and fruit drinks.
  • Candy.
  • Grain-based desserts such as cakes, cookies and pies.
  • Dairy desserts and milk products, including ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk.
  • Other grain-based foods such as cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles.

These kinds of foods have long been cited for contributing to obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but recent research has shown that their added sugars can also lead to heart disease.

How much is too much?

The American Heart Association daily recommendations for sugar consumption are no more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories for women and no more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories for men.

Unfortunately, many of us have a lot more than that. In fact, the average American consumes nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar each day.

Tips to cut sugar

November is the Eat Smart Month, and the American Heart Association offers the following tips to help you reign in your sweet tooth:

  • Replace a few of your beverages during the week with water.
  • Always check nutrition labels before you buy food and drinks, and pay attention to the sugar content. Keep in mind that added sugars go by many names, including sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, agave nectar and honey.
  • Choose simple foods over heavily processed ones.
  • Rinse fruits if they are canned in syrup.
  • Swap out a regular soda for a diet soda.
  • Add fruit slices or a splash of fruit juice to your water for added flavor.
  • If you like fizzy drinks, try sparkling water.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee and tea.

Check out the AHA’s Eat Smart Month infographic below to learn more!


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