According to the American Heart Association, the average American adult consumes 77 grams of sugar per day. That’s over 19 teaspoons a day and 60 pounds of sugar a year! And the numbers are even higher for children. The government recommends you limit your daily added sugar intake to less than 10% of your calories per day. That means limiting sugar for women to about 6 teaspoons per day and for men to about 9 teaspoons.
As a society, we are eating and drinking way too much sugar which can lead to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Although sugars are not harmful in small amounts to the body, our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food. Reducing the amount of added sugar we eat cuts calories and can help you improve your heart health and control your weight.
Below are 4 ways to cut back on your sugar intake:
Toss out the soda: An average 12-ounce can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons). Sugary beverages are the leading source of added sugars in many diets. Of course, drinking water is best, but if you want something sweet to drink or are trying to lose weight, diet drinks can be a better choice than sugary drinks.
Add fruit: Instead of adding sugar to oatmeal or cereal, try adding fresh fruit such as bananas or berries for some extra sweetness.
Make some substitutions: When baking, substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in your recipes. You can also use different extracts when baking or try enhancing the flavor of your dishes by using spices such as cinnamon, allspice or nutmeg. And using sugar substitutes can make a big difference in your daily coffee consumption.
Ditch the desserts: For many of us, having dessert after a meal has become the norm and is a hard habit to break. Start small by having half portions of dessert then gradually continue to reduce your dessert size. Substituting no-sugar added pudding or cookies might help during the transition. Before long, your sugar cravings will subside.
Since sugar is the most added ingredient in the U.S. diet, it’s important to take steps to reduce your sugar intake on a daily basis to help live a longer, healthier life.