Recent research has shown that too much added sugar in the diet can lead to a higher risk of health conditions, such as malnutrition, weight gain, increased triglycerides, diabetes and heart disease.
Therefore, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 38 grams (9 teaspoons) of added sugar each day for men and maximum 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar a day for women. Unfortunately, most Americans consume around 2-3 times more sugar than recommended.
Experts advise people to follow a few simple steps to avoid sugar excess. First would be to read the food labels. FDA always wanted the exact amount of sugar to be listed on the food products’ Nutrition Facts Label. However, that never happened because it was hard to establish the precise amount of sugar added by the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, this label will be added starting from 2018. Therefore, consumers are advised to check for added sugars, such as fruit concentrate, dextrose, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup.
Second, if you consume foods high in added sugar, you need to balance sugar with protein. This way, you won’t feel tired because sugar level falls quickly and you will eat a more nutritious snack. A handful of pistachios is better than a candy bar with 20 grams of sugar. In additions to this, pistachios have essential nutrients, such as B-vitamins, potassium, fiber, and protein.
The third step would be to go for foods labeled with “unsweetened” or “no added sugar.” These foods will reduce your sugar intake. Applesauce, oatmeal, peanut butter and almond milk are all recommended if you want to cut down on your sugar intake.
Another good piece of advice from experts is for consumers to buy naturally sweet foods such as fruits, which will provide antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For instance, grapes are a great source of natural sugar. Plus, they contain antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin K. They are great in combination with Greek yogurt or heated into a sauce.
Spices are another way of reducing the amount of added sugars. Classic baking spices, such as vanilla extract, apple pie spices and cinnamon are tasty, healthy and replace sugar. Last but not least, fruit-flavored drinks and sodas should be avoided if you want to cut down on added sugar. Some viable alternatives are coffee and tea.