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This Month In Diet
  • Sweet Swaps
    You probably eat way more sugar than you should. Want to eat less? One of the best ways is to swap high-sugar foods with healthier, tasty options. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Read >>
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    Around the world, there are pockets of people known to live longer than the average population. What's their secret? The longevity diet uncovers it. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Sweet Swaps

Cut back on the amount of sugar in your diet with these healthy swaps.

Did you know that the recommended daily amount of added sugar is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women and children? Better question. Do you think you eat more or less than that? Most likely, you eat more. Much, much more.

In the United States, the average person eats more than 70 grams of sugar a day—nearly twice the daily allotment! While these empty calories may taste great, they provide zero nutrients and increase your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, and tooth decay.

Though fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain natural sugar, they don’t do the same damage as added sugars. People who cut back on added sugar report feeling more energy, weight loss, lower triglycerides, and an overall lower risk of disease. The funny thing is, after eating less sugar, many people find they no longer crave sugar. When they do eat something sweet, it’s almost too sweet.
Want to eat less sugar? One of the best ways is to swap high-sugar foods with healthier, tasty options. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Breakfast

Many popular breakfast foods are extremely high in added sugar. Sweetened cereals, toaster pastries, donuts, cereal bars, muffins, syrup-smothered pancakes or waffles, sweetened oatmeal packets, and fruit juice are just a few. With so many choices, it’s easy to eat half or more of your daily allotment of sugar in the first meal of the day.

If these foods are your go-to breakfast, it’s time to check out the healthier options. Try unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, eggs with a slice of toast, plain oatmeal topped with raisins and a little honey, or an omelet with veggies.

Lunch

Lunch foods are typically lower in sugar, but there are a few definite pitfalls to be wary of. Jelly and peanut butter both contain sugar and certain canned soups may be high in sugar. You should also be cautious with canned fruits, baked beans, salad dressings, BBQ sauce, ketchup, and frozen dinners.

If you’re looking for a lunch that’s lower in sugar, try a hearty soup or a salad made with plenty of fresh ingredients and topped with an oil and vinegar-based dressing. Prefer eating with your hands? Go with a sandwich made of whole-grain bread.

Dinner

You may not think of dinner foods as sweet, but diners can be full of high-sugar foods to watch out for. When you’re eating out, beware of ingredients that are glazed, caramelized, or candied. Foods made with BBQ sauce, honey, sweet and sour sauce, or teriyaki sauce are also high in added sugars. And believe it or not, spaghetti sauce contains sugar.

A dinner low in sugar is possible though, so don’t lose heart! For low-sugar dining, cook a meal that consists of vegetables, whole grain pasta or rice, and lean protein.

Drinks

Drinks such as soda, sweet tea, sports beverages, vitamin water, chocolate milk, fruit cocktails, flavored coffee, energy drinks, and lemonade contain exorbitant amounts of sugar. A single 12-ounce can of soda actually contains as much sugar as a man should consume in a day. Instead of sabotaging yourself with liquids, swap out these sugary drinks with water, unsweet tea, or low-fat milk.

Snacks

When you need a pick-me-up snack, it’s easy to reach for something sweet. Granola bars, pudding cups, cookies, snack cakes, low-fat yogurt, protein bars, dried fruit, and bottled smoothies are all filled with added sugar. What should you eat instead? How about a hard-boiled egg, cottage cheese, unsweetened Greek yogurt, fruit, veggie sticks dipped in hummus, air-popped popcorn, nuts, seeds, or whole-grain crackers with cheese?

With these small steps, you’ll make big gains in your health. So eat up, but eat smart!


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