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40 Grams a Day

40 Grams a Day

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Daily Sugar Intake


Ah, sugar – that sweet substance we often crave in the form of chocolates, cookies, and all those delectable treats. Yet, as enticing as it is, the truth about sugar isn't so sweet when it comes to our health. Think about it; sugar is practically lurking in every corner of our pantry, often hiding in processed foods such as crackers, cookies, and sauces. The American Heart Association (AHA) tells us that the average American consumes an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugar every single day!  That’s more than 2 times the recommended amount which means reigning in our sugar intake isn’t just important, but a necessity for a health-conscious life.


According to the International Food Information Council, an increasing number of consumers (72%) are actively looking to limit or avoid sugar all together. As a result, foods that are low in sugar and have minimal or no processing are top descriptors of healthy foods today.


Before you can manage your sugar intake, you need to become a sugar detective. Added sugars go by many names – fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, and maltose, to name a few. There’s good news though; fruits are nature's candy and should be your ally in any low-sugar diet. They provide the sweetness you crave along with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Despite their natural sugar content, the sugars in fruits are not the ones health experts warn us about. It's the added sugars in processed foods that are the primary culprit and need monitoring. As a reminder, it’s recommended that adults should aim to keep added sugar intake to no more than 40 grams (or 10 teaspoons) per day. But with sugar sneakily present in many foods, this can be a challenging task. Here are a few ways you can control daily sugar intake without compromising your health. 


1.     Start with Awareness: Use a food diary or app to log daily meals. Pay special attention to the sugar content of each item and tally up your daily consumption to see where you net out.


2.     Modify Your Recipes: Experiment with reducing the amount of sugar used in recipes. Often, you can use less sugar than called for without a noticeable difference in taste.


3.     Homemade is Best: Prepare homemade meals and desserts as much as possible. This gives you complete control over the ingredients and the amount of sugar added.


4.     Choose Whole Foods: Snack on whole foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed snacks that often have added sugars.


5.     Become Label Literate: Learn to understand food labels and distinguish between added sugars and sugars naturally occurring in foods like fruits and dairy.


6.     Hydrate Smartly: Swap sugary drinks for water, herbal teas, or infused water with slices of fruit for a touch of flavor.


7.     Use Natural Sweeteners: Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, in moderation. These can be great substitutes without the added calories or sugar spike.


Remember, the goal isn't to eliminate sugar entirely but to be mindful of your intake. It's about balance, making informed choices, and occasionally indulging without tipping the scales.



Published June 1, 2024 

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