Tips for Reducing Added Sugar in Your Diet
Video by Michaela Parker
Has anyone heard about the ‘freshman fifteen’? During my first semester of college, I gained more than fifteen pounds. The main culprit was added sugar in soda drinks and desserts. “Added sugars” are extra amounts of sugar included in food products and beverages during their production. For example, many processed foods end up with high fructose corn syrup, a common added sugar. Compared to natural sugars, added sugars have minimal nutritional value but lots of calories, leading to weight gain.
Regardless of your age, cutting added sugar can help you avoid weight gain, tooth decay, and other health issues, such as diabetes. There are some simple steps you can take to reduce added sugar intake in your diet.
- Limit consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks- Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks are high in added sugar. Instead, choose water, milk, unsweetened tea, coffee, and sparkling water.
- Enhance foods with spices and natural sweeteners instead of sugar- Some condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings contain added sugar. Use spices and natural sweeteners to give food flavor and reduce the amount of sugar.
- Choose fresh fruit and avoid fruits canned in syrup- Avoid fruit canned in syrup or list sugar as one of the first items in the ingredients list. Choose fresh fruit or choose fruits labeled with "in own juice" or "no added sugar."
- Read nutrition facts labels- Sugar can be hidden in certain foods, including breakfast cereals, granola cereals, and dried fruits. It is important to check the added sugar on the food label.
Subscribe to Extension for Real Life
Fill in the information below to receive a weekly update of our blog posts.