Oh sugar, sugar

Most of us love a good sweet treat. For many there’s just something about cookies, cakes and candy that make them almost impossible to pass up. Yet, while they taste good, most of us know that they aren’t doing anything good for our bodies. So, if you are looking for a way for you and your family to cut back on sugar intake, here are a few tips.

  1. Understand how much sugar is recommended. Most Americans severely underestimate how much sugar they are taking in on a daily basis. The USDA recommends that people age 3 and older “consume no more than 12.5 tsp. each day of sugar.” This is the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda.
  2. Know where sugar is hiding. Sugar hides under several names on the ingredients list for many of the things we eat on a regular basis. When looking at labels, look for words that indicate sugar like syrup, words ending in -ose, and honey. Many times things you think would have no sugar in them can actually be packed with sugar such as salad dressing, condiments, and even things like crackers.
  3. Understand labels. The only way to know how much sugar is in the things you are eating is to carefully read labels. The higher sugar and its aliases are listed on the ingredients list the more it has in it.
  4. Avoid being fake. Artificial sweeteners found in items like diet sodas, sugar-free gum, and sweeteners may give your body the sweet taste it is craving, but they don’t provide any nutritional value. Instead go for natural sugars such as those found in dairy and fruit.
  5. H20 is the way to go. Sports drinks, store-bought smoothies, and juices can all be packed with sugars. The American Dental Association recommends “children ages 1-6 should have no more than 4-6 oz. of juice per day.” It’s best to always recommend water or milk first and only give juice at mealtimes to avoid the child sipping on it all day, which increases the risk of tooth decay.