March is National Nutrition Month, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to join the bandwagon! This year’s theme is called Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle; encouraging the consumption of fewer calories, informed food choices, and daily exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reduce incidence of chronic disease. Join us all month as we share simple tips to consume fewer calories.
Week 1: Trim added sugars
There is no health benefit to high sugar consumption. Only athletes can justify the need for excess energy. For the majority of us, the excess will not be burned for fuel, but stored as fat, increasing our risk of chronic disease. The American Heart Association recommends that added sugars be kept to 24 grams a day for women and 36 grams for men. Considering that 12 ounces of cola has 39 grams of sugar, it is easy to see why obesity and chronic disease has escalated in America.
Here are 5 simple tips to minimize added sugars:
1. Replace sweetened beverages with water or unsweetened beverages.
2. Replace fruit juice with whole fruit, or limit consumption to 4oz a day.
3. Replace sugary cereals and breakfast pastries with unsweetened whole grains like oatmeal or bran flakes.
4. Replace cookies, cakes and ice cream with a naturally sweet treat like frozen berries.
5. Beware of sweetened condiments. One tablespoon of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar, and one packet of Polynesian sauce has 13 grams adding 110 calories to your meal!
On packaged foods added sugars may appear under many different names. Fructose, dextrose, maltose, and corn syrup are just a few. Overall, choose products with minimal ingredients, lower sugar and higher fiber contents.