While the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 7.5 teaspoons of added sugar per day, Americans usually exceed this amount by almost three fold.
An increasing number of household purchases like condiments, baking supplies, yogurt, and juices contain added sugar. We naturally tend to crave sugary treats, and this results in a series of bad little purchases that can have a huge impact on our health in the long run. A long-term high sugar diet leads to weight gain, hormone imbalance, and irreversible chronic diseases.
There are easy ways to cut back on sugar by making conscious little decisions everyday. Here are our top 10 easy ways to cut back on sugar:
- Cut Back on Condiments : Ketchup alone contains 22 grams of sugar per 100 gram you consume. If you are having a sandwich, use as little of the condiments as possible. Using a lot of sauces also overpowers the ingredients in your sandwich. Eat with the intention of tasting the ingredients, not overpowering them!
2. Drink Water: Drinking water hydrates you and helps energize your muscles. If you are thirsty, drink water because it has no sugar and your body needs it! Your body is about 60% water, and it is recommended that you get eight ounce glass water per day.
3. Avoid Soda : A single can of soda contains as many as 11 teaspoons of added sugar, that is already double the recommended amount for an individual for a whole day. Additionally drinking sodas/pop regularly builds plaque on your teeth and results in cavities.
4. Use Extracts for Baking: Instead of adding sweetened flavors, try adding natural extract without the sweetening. This way you can control how much sugar you put into your baked goods!
5. Buy less Processed Items: Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and food items that aren’t canned, processed, and infused with preservatives. Processed food items are readily available in every store front, making it more difficult find fresh and natural food items. But choosing to buy less processed item also means cutting back on added complex sugar, and preservatives.
6. Read Labels: A lot of the time the amount of sugar is listed under the nutritional label. However, make sure to look for what amount the sugar is constituted for. For instance, is it 20 gm for every 100 gm or 20 gm for 350 gm of the given food item. Sometimes you may read 5 gm of sugar and choose that item over another, without realizing for the accounted amount of food item.
7. Eat Fresh Fuits: Shop fresh fruits in your local farmer’s market and eat organic, natural fruits instead of canned ones. Remember to also watch how much you eat as well because it still contains sugar.
8. Avoid Mixed Alcoholic Drinks: Mixed alcoholic drinks often contain a combination of sugar filled liqueur, spirits, and artificial juices that are very high in sugar. Consider cutting out elaborate cocktails with mixture of sugary spirits to cut back on sugar when you are out with your friends.
9. Choose unsweetened: Whether it’s dried fruits, almond milk or spices, choose unsweetened items. We tend to over season while cooking items so it is best to choose items that are unsweetened.
10. Eat Out less: Eating out is not only costly to your pocket, but also your health. Since menus don’t list out exactly how much sugar they use in their food items, it is always a gamble. Eat at home as much as possible to avoid the guessing game.