Excessive added sugar has many negative health effects.
Although consuming small amounts now and then is perfectly healthy, you should try to cut back on sugar whenever possible.
Fortunately, simply focusing on eating whole, unprocessed foods automatically decreases the amount of sugar in your diet.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your intake of added sugars:
• Swap sodas, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas for water or unsweetened seltzer.
• Drink your coffee black or use Stevia for a zero-calorie, natural sweetener.
• Sweeten plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries instead of buying flavored, sugar-loaded yogurt.
• Consume whole fruits instead of sugar-sweetened fruit smoothies.
• Replace candy with a homemade trail mix of fruit, nuts and a few dark chocolate chips.
• Use olive oil and vinegar in place of sweet salad dressings like honey mustard.
• Choose marinades, nut butter, ketchup and marinara sauce with zero added sugars.
• Look for cereals, granolas and granola bars with under 4 grams of sugar per serving.
• Swap your morning cereal for a bowl of rolled oats topped with nut butter and fresh berries, or an omelet made with fresh greens.
• Instead of jelly, slice fresh bananas onto your peanut butter sandwich.
• Use natural nut butter in place of sweet spreads like Nutella.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey, sugar or agave.
• Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, focusing on fresh, whole ingredients.
In addition, keeping a food diary is an excellent way of becoming more aware of the main sources of sugar in your diet.
The best way to limit your added sugar intake is to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar.