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5 Ways to Eat Less Sugar
Your body uses the glucose naturally found in food to give you energy. However, consuming too much sugar through foods and drinks can impact your blood glucose levels, which can lead to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney disease.1
Many manufacturers add sugars to their food to help enhance the taste of their products. However, these added sugars can spike your blood glucose levels, which can put your health at risk over time.
It’s important to keep track of how much sugar you eat each day to stay healthy. Here are some tips on you can be mindful of how much sugar you’re consuming.
Cut or reduce sodas
Sodas have little nutritional value and they can cause a spike to your blood glucose levels. A 12-ounce can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons), which is 80% of the daily recommended intake for a healthy diet. It is estimated that Americans consume an average of 17 added teaspoons of sugars each day.2
A meta-analysis from Harvard found that regularly drinking soda, 1 or more cans a day, can increase your chances of diabetes by 26%. What’s more is that a half liter of soda is 11% of an adult’s daily caloric intake.3
Due to the lack of nutritional value from soda and health risks associated with the added sugars, one way to eat less sugar is to cut down the amount of soda you drink. For example, if you enjoy soda every day, try having it a few times a week in order to cut down the amount of extra sugar you’re eating each day.
Some alternative beverages that are lower in sugar include:
- Sparkling water
Be careful about adding extras to your drink such as processed sugar, processed honey, or flavored syrups, as these additives can negate some of the benefits of swapping from soda.
Avoid Sugary Desserts
It is estimated that desserts such as cakes, doughnuts, and pies account for 18% of added sugar intake in America.4
However, most desserts do not provide much nutritional value and are often loaded with extra sugars that your body doesn’t need.
Sweet options most frequently occur for breakfast (such as Danishes or doughnuts) or in the evening for dessert after a meal. Choosing healthier options in the morning and evening can help you cut down on the amount of extra sugar each day.
If you’re looking for healthier options for dessert that satisfy your sweet cravings, you can try eating:
- Dark chocolate
- Greek Yogurt
There are other healthy dessert options such as frozen Greek yogurt bars or dark chocolate covered bananas if you are searching for more of a treat.
You may be eating extra sugar in your diet without realizing it. Some foods, such as ketchup, cereals, or granola bars, can contain added sugars that you may not be aware of unless you read the food labels.
It is required that all manufacturers write down the list of ingredients in their products, and that includes added sugars. The higher up the word “sugar” is on the ingredient list, the more sugar is in the product you’re consuming. For example, if sugar is listed third on the ingredient list, it is a more prominent ingredient than if it were listed seventh.
Be mindful that the ingredients will not always simply state “sugar.” Some of the most common names for sugar include:5
- High fructose corn syrup
- Rice syrup
- Cane sugar
- Cane Juice
Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods that have not been processed or have additional ingredients added to them.
Some whole foods include:6
- Whole grains
- Whole grains
Cooking food from scratch is one way that you can avoid added sugars. It is estimated that 90% of energy intake comes from sugars found in processed foods.
Making your own meals with whole food ingredients can help reduce the amount of sugar you eat each day. You will be better able to control your diet by portion controlling the amount of sugar you eat.
Eat Healthy Snacks
Many people enjoy snacking during the day, however, snacks can add extra sugars to your diet if you aren’t choosing healthy options. While research on snacking during the day is mixed, snacking can help you curb your appetite and prevent you from overeating during meals.6
Some snack ideas that are healthy and can help you avoid added sugars include:
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, etc)
- Apples slices & peanut butter
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cottage Cheese
- Whole grain toast
- Hummus with carrots
Start Eating Healthier Today!
Now that you have some strategies on how you can avoid added sugars, it’s important to stay mindful as to what you eat each day. You can keep track of the foods you eat each day and look for trends in where you may be eating too much sugar.
Here at Saber Healthcare, our dietary departments work to help our residents meet and achieve their nutritional goals. To learn more about the services our company offers, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Watson, Stephanie. “What is Glucose?” WebMD. 13 June 2020. Accessed 18 February 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/glucose-diabetes
- Lehman, Shereen Cervani, Barbie. “How Much Sugar is in a Can of Soda.” Dotdash, VeryWellFit. 14 January 2021. Accessed 18 February 2022. Link: https://www.verywellfit.com/guess-how-much-sugar-is-in-a-can-of-soda-2506919
- “Sugary Soft Drinks and Diabetes.” Diabetes. Last Reviewed 7 January 2022. Accessed 18 January 2022. Link: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/sugary-soft-drinks.html#:~:text=Sugary%20drinks%20and%20hypos&text=Sugary%20drinks%20help%20to%20raise,glucose%20levels%20back%20to%20normal
- Drewnowski, Adam, and Colin D Rehm. “Consumption of added sugars among US children and adults by food purchase location and food source.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 100,3 (2014): 901-7. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.089458. Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25030785/
- Alexandra Rowles and SeVanna Shoemaker. Rose, Kim, ed. “13 Simple Ways to Stop Eating Lots of Sugar.” Red Ventures, Healthline Media. Last Updated 22 July 2021. Accessed 18 January 2022. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/sucralose-and-diabetes
- Martínez Steele, Eurídice et al. “Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study.” BMJ open 6,3 e009892. 9 Mar. 2016, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009892 Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26962035/
- “13 Healthy Snack Ideas To Enjoy When You’re Hungry.” Saber Healthcare Group. 8 February 2022. Accessed 18 February 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/healthy-snack-ideas