As we near the end of March and the end of National Nutrition Month, let’s continue the discussion of how we can “Put our best fork forward” throughout the remainder of 2017. Americans consume on average 19 teaspoons of sugar per day yet the American Heart Association recommend that women have no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day and men have no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day. The problem with this recommendation is that the current food labels don’t differentiate between the natural sugars from lactose (milk and milk products) and fructose (fruit) from added sugars like honey, cane sugar, molasses, and high fructose corn syrup. Starting in 2018, the food manufacturers will have to list the amount of added sugar on the food labels. Until then, we will have to be smart consumers and reduce the consumption of added sugar in our diets. Here are 5 ways you can lower your overall sugar consumption:
1. Watch your sauces. You may not think of sauces as a high source of sugar but your BBQ sauces, marinades, steak sauces, and even pasta sauces have a significant amount of sugar in them. Make sure to check the labels and seek the products that have the lower sugar content.
2. Be smart about your cereal. People are usually shocked to learn that Raisin Bran cereal has one of the highest sugar contents of all the cereals in the cereal aisle. The goal for cereal is that you find one with <10 grams of sugar per serving.
3. Check your yogurt label. While yogurt can be an excellent source of calcium and protein, you need to really examine the label to find out how much sugar is in your cup of yogurt and the source of the sugar. Don’t assume that the light versions are any better because those can be high in artificial sugars.
4. Consider your cookies in the cupboard. Sometimes it becomes just a habit to have the cookies in the cupboard that you throw in with lunch or snack on late at night when you are bored. Next time down the cookie aisle, choose a cookie that is lower in sugar such as a ginger snap. Skip over the sugar-free cookies as those typically are sweetened with sugar alcohols, which are not absorbed by our body and can cause tummy distress.
5. Beware of the beverages. It’s no secret that sodas such as Coke, Pepsi, Mt Dew and even Sprite have added sugars in them (in fact, 11 teaspoons of sugar on average in a 12-ounce can). However, beverages that disguise themselves as healthier options such as vitamin waters, energy drinks, green teas can be equally as high in sugar as sodas.
If you have more questions about sugar and how you can lower your overall intake, consider scheduling an appointment with one of the dietitians at Christie, RD. We can help you to “Put your best fork forward.”