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Live a Sweet Life With Less Sugar
February 09, 2022

February is National Heart Month. Many times, we hear about avoiding salt and fat to protect our heart, but sugar can be just as concerning. Consuming excess sugar may cause high triglycerides, chronic inflammation and obesity which can be linked to high blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol and lead to heart disease.

Did you know that the average American consumes about 19 teaspoons of added sugar a day? This is more than triple the amount that is recommended for women. It is recommended that women have no more than 6 teaspoons (24g) of added sugar a day and no more than 9 teaspoons (36g) for men.

Sugar can be found in a variety of foods. Naturally occurring sugar is found in foods such as fruit and milk and added sugar is found in a variety of processed foods like candy, ice cream, pastries, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Soon you will notice more nutrition fact labels list both “Total sugars” and “Added Sugars”. Reading food labels can be very eye opening and helpful in making healthy food choices.

Do you know how much sugar a 20z bottle of Mountain Dew has? Get ready for a sugar shock! It has 18 teaspoons (73g) of sugar! In just one drink you are getting over the recommended amount of sugar in a whole day. You most likely wouldn’t eat 18 teaspoons of sugar, so why are you drinking them? It’s best to rethink that drink option. Water is the best choice, but if you want a little flavor you can add fresh fruit wedges or splash it with 100% fruit juice, unsweetened tea, or even try flavored carbonated water.

Listed below are some healthy modifications to decrease sugar, salt and fat. 

Replace

Substitution

Sugar

Use half the sugar or sugar substitute. Try spices such as cinnamon, cloves allspice, nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract to boost sweetness. Instead of adding brown sugar to oatmeal try cinnamon, which brings out natural sweetness, try fresh berries topped with whip cream instead of cherry pie as dessert. Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate - the darker the less sugar.

Butter, Margarine, Shortening, Oil

Use nonfat cooking spray. When baking, substitute half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. When using oil, olive and Canola oil are healthier fats

1 Egg

2 egg whites or ¼ egg substitute, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, or ¼ cup of apple sauce

All-purpose flour, Pasta, Rice

Whole wheat flour, whole grain/whole wheat pasta, quinoa, bulgur, barley, brown rice. All of these options increase fiber.

Salt

Use half the amount or eliminate. Flavor food with fresh /dried herbs, garlic, onions, lemon, pepper, Mrs. Dash (salt free seasoning).

Syrup

Use fresh fruit which has less sugar and more fiber but still provides sweetness. Fresh strawberries and bananas taste great on pancakes and waffles!

Bacon, Sausage

Replace meat in some recipes with vegetables. Try adding them to pizza, in omelets, and sandwiches. Add nuts or seeds in salads for additional protein, fiber and healthy fats.