Summer Sugar Throw Down: 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Refined Sugar in Your Diet by Susan Bowerman
With summer here, many of us begin to pay a little more attention to what we’re eating, so we feel more comfortable spending time outdoors and in our sleeveless tops, shorts and bathing suits. While eating healthier may come a little bit easier with the best intentions, avoiding added sugars can be difficult because sugar lurks in so many foods that we eat every day.
Added sugars are called empty calories because – other than carbohydrate – they generally lack any other nutrients and simply contribute extra calories to the diet. Sugar and sugary foods can promote tooth decay, and those extra calories can lead to weight gain.
Here are five simple ways to cut down on sugar this summer:
- Read Nutrition Labels: Grams of added sugar are listed on the nutrition facts panel. Know that sugar has many names, so search the ingredients list for sucrose, glucose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltodextrin, corn syrup and molasses, all of which are names for sugar.
- Use Naturally Sweet Foods: Try using fruit like sliced bananas or berries to sweeten up your cereals, yogurt and smoothies or enjoy them as a snack.
- Spice It Up: Add sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to oatmeal, yogurt, fruit or coffee drinks.
- Reduce Liquid Sugar: Cut back on liquid sugars like soda, sugary coffee drinks and other sweetened beverages. Instead, add chunks of fruit to plain or sparkling water for a refreshing treat.
- Visualize Your Sugar Intake: When reading labels, visualize the sugar per serving. Every 4 grams is equivalent to a teaspoon or one sugar cube.
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