Updated: Oct 1, 2021
You probably know added sugars aren't the best thing for your health or your waistline.
But it might surprise you to learn that most Americans actually consume 3 to 4 times the recommended limit each day!
The American Heart Association suggests that healthy adults consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added-sugar each day. That's just 25 grams. And those grams can add up quick, especially if your'e eating foods from a box, bag, or container. And you may not realize how many added sugars are hanging out in your condiments, restaurant entrees and many of the processed foods marketed as "healthy."
That's because added sugars are often used as a preservative to extend a food's shelf life or enhance flavor, just like other common preservatives, salt and bad fats.
But don't worry, there are a few simple swaps you can make to cut back on added sugars and boost your health too!
Sugar is naturally found in a variety of foods such as fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, and even grains. But added-sugars are the sugars manufacturers add to processed and prepackaged foods like ice cream, cookies, candy, and soda, and even to less obvious foods like ketchup, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, and salad dressings.
Natural sugar in an apple for example, can come in around around 20 grams. However, that apple also has vitamins, minerals, and other valuable nutrients that nourish your body. And the fiber in an apple can satisfy your hunger. Whereas the added sugars found in many processed snack foods are empty calories with no real nutritional value. And those extra calories can contribute to weight gain and a variety of other health problems.
10 Benefits of Reducing Sugar Intakes:
Lower blood pressure
Reduce bad cholesterol
Decrease risk of heart attack
Keep the blues at bay
Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
Promote clear and healthy skin
Improve overall energy
Save your teeth (and gums!)
Stay mentally sharp and focused
Reduce future cravings
Naturally eat better with the help of these ten simple sugar swaps:
Honey: not only does a little go a long way, but in it's raw and natural form it is rich in antioxidants!
Maple Syrup: is another a little dab will do ya sweetener, it comes from plant sap and contains over 50 antioxidants!
Cinnamon: a subtle sweet yet spicy flavor adds some warm kick to anything from your morning coffee to oatmeal or baked goodies! And bonus - it's calorie free!
Unsweetened Applesauce: a great sub to use in your baked goods - instead of 1/2 C white sugar use 1/2 C applesauce in your next batch of cookies!
Pureed Banana: just like applesauce its a great swap for the white stuff and makes your baked goods taste rich and creamy while supplying some wholesome nutrients too - perfect not only for banana bread, but your next batch of cookies, brownies, DIY ice creams and smoothies too!
Raisins, Cranberries, Dates, Apricot: whether you puree or dice them dried, these little guys can add some flavor from tart to sweet to your baked goods as well as some essential vitamins, minerals and awesome antioxidants too!
Coconut Sugar: so you want to sweeten your baked good and these other subs just won't do...try swapping traditional white sugar with this sweet and full of potassium alternative! Often times you can even use a little less (refer to your recipe and apply sugar swap as directed from the package).
Lemon and/or Lime: tart maybe, but a hint of sweetness too! A mug of hot lemon water and a dab of honey in the morning is not a bad way to kickstart the day! Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to refresh your water, and for mixed drink lovers skip the sweet and sour mixers and save on empty calories by going with this fresh full of flavor alternative!
Milk: whether it's traditional cow's milk or an almond, hemp, rice, or coconut alternative (there are so many great options available now!) adding a splash to your tea or coffee can deliver great flavor with a hint of sweetness and even some essential vitamins and minerals all while saving you on empty calories....win/win!
Club soda: soda and fruit juice lovers rejoice - a great way to cut down on calories is by using this simple alternative! Sub up to 1/2 of the juice in your glass with a bit of bubbly or pour a glass of club soda and add a few slices of your favorite fresh citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerine) and enjoy a healthier spin on traditional sodas!
Are you tired of starting over every Monday, hopping from diet to diet, wondering if you'll ever get it "right" so that you can lose the weight and become the best version of you? I’ve got you friend! Come join me inside my FREE women’s-only Facebook community: Eat Better with Coach Mindy. It's for busy women like you who are ready to lose weight, gain energy, get healthy and fit -- without restrictive diets or punishing food rules.