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This Month In Diet
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  • So Long, Sweet Tooth
    Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet isn’t easy. It takes intentionality, commitment, and hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. If you’re looking for simple ways to eliminate sugar, here are a few ways to get started. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

So Long, Sweet Tooth

Say goodbye to sugar with these helpful tips.

It’s sweet, tasty, and addictive. Sugar is added to most processed foods to improve flavor and keep you coming back for more. Unfortunately, the sweet stuff is also a major contributor to weight gain, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay. More and more studies show the negative effects sugar has on your health. Current recommendations suggest women eat no more than 25 grams (six teaspoons) and men no more than 38 grams (nine teaspoons) of sugar a day. However, the average person consumes 71 grams (17 teaspoons) of sugar a day, twice the recommended amount.

It’s time to take steps to cut back. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet isn’t easy. It takes intentionality, commitment, and hard work, but the rewards are well worth it. If you’re looking for simple ways to eliminate sugar, here are a few ways to get started.

Stop Drinking Soda

Sweetened drinks are one of the main sources of added sugar. If you can reduce the number of sodas you drink each day or quit drinking soda altogether, you can drastically cut back on the amount of sugar you consume. Drink water or unsweetened tea instead. It may take time, but one day you may prefer water to soda and wonder why you ever drank the sugar-laden stuff.

Eat More Whole Foods

Since most processed foods contain added sugar, it’s a good idea to include more whole foods in your diet. Whole foods are those found in their most natural state, meaning they have undergone little processing and contain few added ingredients. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein. By preparing your meals at home and cooking from scratch, you can eliminate many processed foods.

Limit Desserts

An occasional treat of your favorite sweet isn’t a big deal, but eating cookies, cakes, pastries, and pies every day, sometimes multiple times a day, is reason for concern. The best way to sidestep this sweet downfall is to keep sweet treats out of your grocery cart and out of the house. When you’re offered dessert, eat only a small portion. To satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy a little piece of dark chocolate, fresh fruit, a few pieces of dried fruit, or Greek yogurt.

Inspect Food Labels

Before purchasing a food, read its nutrition label and check for sugar amounts. Many food labels now list the amounts of total sugar and added sugar. Added sugar is what you most want to avoid. Be wary of foods that claim to be healthy but contain high amounts of sugar. These foods can be cereals, yogurts, canned fruit, muffins, fruit jam, or granola bars. And when shopping, compare different food brands and get those that contain the least amount of added sugar.

Make Sugar Swaps

When baking or preparing meals, there are simple ways to reduce the amount of table sugar you use. If you typically sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar on your oatmeal, reduce it to a half-teaspoon. You may be used to two sugar cubes in your coffee, but gradually cut back to one. When baking, the recipe may turn out fine and still taste good if you use less sugar than the recipe calls for. You can also replace sugar in recipes with vanilla, almond extract, unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon, or ginger. Experiment and you’ll find plenty of options that pull sugar out of your recipes without removing flavor.

Choose Full-Fat Foods

Back when fat was the enemy, many dieters chose non-fat or low-fat options in their attempt to lose weight. Unfortunately, many low-fat foods contain high amounts of added sugar to improve the taste. Sometimes the low-fat options contain more calories than the full fat! Always check nutrition labels and don’t assume that a food labeled as low fat is lower in calories or added sugars.