It's National Nutrition Month, a good time to think about ways you can improve your nutrition. Barbara Sherwood, RD, a clinical nutrition manager at Intermountain Medical Center, says reducing the amount of sugar you consume each day is a great way to improve your nutrition and overall health.
"Diets high in calories and sugar are known to be unhealthy," Barbara says. "The FDA, World Health Organization, American Heart Association, and many others have linked excess sugar consumption to weight gain — which increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, inflammation, and elevated triglyceride levels."
How much sugar is okay? "The American Heart Association recommends added sugar make up no more than half of your daily discretionary calories," Barbara says. "This means no more than 150 calories per day (nine teaspoons) for men and 100 calories (six teaspoons) for women each day."
TIP: Limit Daily Added Sugar to 9 Teaspoons for men, and 6 Teaspoons for women
The average 12-ounce non-diet soda contains 39 grams of sugar, or about 9.5 teaspoons. That's more than the average daily allowance of sugar in just one drink. Most processed foods also contain sugar — including some you might not suspect, such as:
- Frozen food
- Instant oatmeal
- Pasta sauce
- Barbecue sauce
- Salad dressing
- Whole-grain cereals and granola
- Protein bars, granola bars, and cereal bars
8 Steps to eating less sugar:
- Don’t drink your calories – experiment with infused waters
- Start with breakfast – Go for a veggie-egg scramble or fruit
- Modify recipes requiring sugar with replacement options or removing sugar
- Use a shopping list – A little planning can keep you for snacking
- Check the labels – If sugar is listed in first 3 ingredients, skip it
- Store it out of sight – Let the pantry be your friend and hide the candy dish
- Surround yourself with healthy snacks