The added sugars in the foods we are eating can turn a normally healthy food into a not so healthy food! Added sugars are different than sugars from fruits and dairy products, because added sugars are added to our food and come with calories, but minimal nutrition. The nutrition facts label is changing, and the new label will list total sugars and added sugars, so you know how much is natural versus added. If the nutrition fact label doesn’t decipher between natural sugar and added sugar, check the ingredient list. Added sugars are called many different names, some even sound healthy.
How much is recommended? The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for women (6 tsp) and 36 grams a day for a man (9 tsp).
4 grams of sugar=1 teaspoon
THE CHALLENGE: This week look for added sugars in your diet.
Tally up your added sugar intake and try to keep most days of the week within the recommended limits.
Tips to Consider:
1. Look at the nutrition facts on everything you eat, even foods that you wouldn’t expect to have much sugar. Then look at the added sugar and add up your added sugar for the day.
2. When shopping at the grocery store, compare products. Choose comparable products with less added sugar (such as jams, bread, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, yogurt).
3. You might find sweetened drinks are loaded with sugar, and it is easy to drink a lot of sugar, switch to unsweetened drinks to stay within your limits. Try infused water, unsweetened tea or an unsweetened, naturally flavored carbonated water.
4. If your find sweet treats are working their way into your diet too often, try to cut back. In place, consider fruit juice popsicles, grilled fruit, or berries with a little whipped topping.
For more information about added sugars, go to American Heart Association.
Our thanks to Franciscan Dietician Kristal Twardy, RDN, CD, for writing this Challenge.