Updated: Feb 27
Most of us know added sugars aren't the best thing for our health or our waistline.
But it might surprise you to learn that most Americans actually consume 3 to 4 times the amount of recommended limit of sugar each day! The American Heart Association recommends healthy adults consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is just 25 grams. And those grams can add up quick, especially if your'e eating foods from a box, bag, or container.
You probably know that cakes, cookies, candies and sweetened beverages are some of the biggest culprits, but you may not realize how many added sugars are hanging out in your condiments, restaurant entrees and a whole host of 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 its flavor, just like added salts and fats.
The key is to read those nutrition labels and know what you're really consuming. Then strive for the healthy, healthier, or healthiest choice to start reducing added sugar intakes, a little at a time.
But remember, we're talking about ADDED sugars here. Not the sugar that is naturally occurring in an apple or banana. The chemical sugar that is found in the M&M's, ice cream, and chocolate bars, that is the 'sugar' you want to save for your planned indulgence, not unknowingly load up on when eating a sandwich or salad.
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 ready to ditch boring diets forever and create healthy, balanced, and sustainable food habits for lasting weight loss? Join me inside my FREE women's only Facebook group: Slim & Trim with Coach Mindy. It's for women who are ready to achieve weight loss the smart way by creating simple, realistic and FUN habits that help them live healthier, happier and become the best version of themselves!