Health Advocate Blog

Easy ways to cut down on sugar

Sugar makes food extra delicious, improving its taste and texture while balancing flavors. However, sugar doesn’t provide significant nutrition, other than being a carbohydrate macronutrient that supplies energy to keep your body working. Too much sugar can have detrimental health effects as it can contribute to obesity, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Try these tips to help you reduce your sugar intake!

Focus on healthy carbohydrates for energy. Opt for fruitsvegetables and whole grains as your main sources of carbs.

Set your daily limit for added sugar. For women, the limit should be 6 teaspoons or 25 grams per day; for men, the limit is 9 teaspoons or 36 grams.

Read labels for the grams of sugar to make healthy food choices.  If a product doesn’t have fruit or milk in the ingredients, all of the sugar that is found in the food is likely added. If fruit or milk is in the food, the label will account for both natural and added sugars.

Know sugar’s aliases. Ingredients that end in “ose,” like sucrose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, and maltose, indicate sugar. Other names for sugar include corn syrup, cane sugar, molasses, nectar, and fruit juice concentrate.

Understand sugar “terms” on labels. “Sugar-free” indicates a food has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. “Reduced sugar” foods must have at least 25 percent less sugar per serving than their traditional counterpart product.

Limit foods with added sugar, such as cookies, cupcakes, candy, and other sweets.

Substitute water for soda and other sugary beverages.

Watch out for sneaky sources of added sugars. Some canned fruits, packaged breads, premade sauces and fruit-flavored yogurts—even cereal and flavored oatmeal—can contain added sugars.

Substitute sugar and sweeteners with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mint or cardamom to add flavor to coffee, oatmeal and plain yogurt. Try swapping smashed fruit or juice for a cup of sugar in your next cupcake, cake or cookie recipe.

Choose fresh or frozen fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. Here are 15 fun uses for frozen fruits.

Add fruit, rather than sugar, to your baked goods. Try swapping a cup of smashed blueberries or pomegranate juice for a cup of sugar in your next cupcake, cake or cookie recipe.

Determine how much you really need dessert. If you’re an everyday dessert eater, limit yourself to enjoying it only on a specific day, weekends, or special occasions. This can greatly reduce your sugar intake. Or swap your dessert for a healthier option like a smoothie.

Remember, healthy eating doesn’t mean eliminating all of the foods you enjoy—it means enjoying them in moderation.