6 Expert Tips for Reducing Added Sugar in Your Diet

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Ditching added sugar can aid weight loss and heart health. And with these strategies endorsed by registered dietitians, the task is a little sweeter.

Take sugar out of your diet, or at least reduce it, and you can enjoy whole-body benefits.Yaroslav Danylchenko/Stocksy

Sugar is all around you. It’s in your cabinets. In your fridge. And, of course, given the pint of Ben & Jerry’s, in your freezer too.

But consuming excessive added sugars is detrimental to your health. In a study published in April 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine, adults who consumed 10 to 24 percent of their calories from added sugar (between 200 and 480 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet) had a 30 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who keep their consumption to less than 10 percent. Eat 25 percent or more of your calories from added sugar (500 calories) and that number jumps to nearly three times the risk.

Confusingly, the recommended limit of added sugars differs among organizations. “I focus on the American Heart Association’s (AHA) number because they’re the strictest,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, of Nutrition Starring You in Green Brook Township, New Jersey. The AHA advises that women limit their consumption to six teaspoons per day (25 grams [g]) and men cap themselves at 9 teaspoons per day (36 g). Recently released 2020 recommendations from the U.S. Dietary Guidelines note that in total, added sugars should make up no more than 6 percent of calories for any person age 2 years and up.

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