As Halloween draws near, many of us will be thinking about the sugar that kids and adults will be eating. It’s funny, because added sugar lurks in many foods all of the time. In this post, we’ll talk about sugar and five tips to cut down on it.
When it comes to your health, I can’t think of any added benefit to added sugar. Sugar adds flavor and calories without adding beneficial nutrients.
How much added sugar is too much sugar?
At the end of the day, you want to avoid as much added sugar as possible. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to “6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men.” Last May, the FDA finalized a rule that will include “added sugars” on the nutrition facts label. And, the percent daily value recommended for you will be a 10% limit on calories from sugar. While the rule is finalized, you won’t see changes on the food label until end of July 2018.
Where is the added sugar?
Added sugar is in foods you might not realize. In my blog last year Beyond the treats: We are tricked into eating added sugar all the time, I listed a number of foods that may have added sugar. If you are shopping in the grocery store and have these foods on your list, compare labels to choose the option without added sugar.
1. Breakfast Cereal
3. Boxed grains (like Spanish rice)
4. Crackers (especially “honey wheat”)
5. Dips (especially premade)
7. Frozen dinners
11. Pasta Sauce
12. Peanut butter
15. Sauces (like teriyaki)
17. Seasoning packets (taco seasoning, for example)
19. Yogurt (flavored)
Not sure which words to look for on the ingredient list for added sugar? Check out this list:
Now that we know more about added sugar, here are five tips to cut down on it:
1. Curb your sugar cravings with a piece of fruit. Raspberries, strawberries, frozen blueberries, and even canned pineapple (in it’s own juice) can be a decadent treat without added sugar!
2. When you cook, take out half of the amount of sugar that the recipe asks for. Or, simply skip it! This weekend, I made pumpkin bread with half the honey called for in the recipe, and it was delicious.
3. Add spices for flavor. For example, I add cinnamon in my coffee instead of sugar. It adds a lovely, warm flavor without the added sugar.
4. Choose to make homemade sauces, dressings, salsas, and snacks! There are so many recipes online that are full of flavor that have no added sugar.
5. Change your tastebuds. Twice a year, I give up ALL added sugar for 4 weeks. It’s amazing how food tastes when you give up added sugar. The true flavors come out. And, once I begin to add sugar back into my food, it tastes too sweet. Training your tastebuds to detect true flavors can help your sugar cravings.
How do you cut down on added sugar? Let me know in the comments!
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