Dover Nutrition Expert gives 5 tips to reduce your daily sugar intake

Weight gain…heart disease…high blood pressure…diabetes…cavities.


These are just some of the consequences of consuming too much sugar.


And as bad as those things are, it gets even worse. The very length and quality of your future life may depend on how you handle your sugar consumption today.


Today I’m going to give you five ways you can alter your nutrition lifestyle in order to cut down on your daily sugar consumption.


First, let’s review how much sugar you should be consuming. According to the United States government guidelines, men should consume no more than 37.5 grams of sugar a day; women no more than 25 grams.


So how much are people consuming?


According to the Canadian documentary Sugar Coated, Europeans are consuming 71 g a day, Americans are consuming 81.9 g a day. And teenagers are consuming 126 g to 172.2 g a day! (Doctors are now treating teenagers, and in some cases pre-teens, for diabetes and fatty liver disease.)


To put this in perspective: 1 sugar packet, the kind you might put in your coffee, is equivalent to 4 grams of sugar. In an average 20 oz bottle of soda there are about 16 sugar packets worth of sugar, or 64 g of sugar. It’s easy to see how we can consume so much in a day. This means if you drink just 2 sodas a day, you are exceeding even the average amount of sugar Americans consume in a day. How wild is that?


Here are five things you can start doing immediately that will help you fall within the recommended daily sugar consumption guidelines…

  1. If you eat yogurt, switch to plain yogurt– there are two categories of sugar you need to be mindful of if you’re looking to cut down on your sugar intake: 1) Naturally occurring sugar and 2) added sugar. Naturally occurring sugar, of course, is the best. Naturally occurring sugar is found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and plain yogurt. So not only does plain yogurt have less sugar, but because the sugar it contains occurs naturally you don’t have to include it in your daily sugar intake count. If you have some doubt whether the sugar in the yogurt you’re eating is plain and contains naturally occurring sugar, look at the ingredients. If it contains any of the ingredients listed in #8 below, then the sugar it contains is “added sugar” and should only be eaten if it keeps you within your recommended daily sugar allotment. For yogurt lovers, adding fruit to plain yogurt is the healthiest way to go. If you’re into smoothies, substituting plain yogurt for frozen yogurt or ice cream is a sugar-smart option.

  2. Avoid artificial sweeteners and products that contain them– One of the conclusions found in a 2010 study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine was that “because they are sweet, [artificial sweeteners] encourage sugar craving and sugar dependence.” For anyone serious about reducing their sugar intake this is not a good thing.

  3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables- This is a no-brainer. Fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring sugar which you don’t have to count towards your recommended daily sugar intake total. What’s more, naturally occurring sugar is basically “self-regulating” because while it’s easy to eat a whole bag of candy, you can only eat so many apples and oranges each day until you decide that you’ve had enough.

  4. Only drink water– Ok, only drinking water might be difficult, but instead of reaching for an orange juice, soda, energy drink, or fruit drink (which are all packed with sugar), reach for a water. It is the healthiest liquid on earth. In addition to containing no sugar, it’s great for weight loss, will give your skin a healthy glow and, among other things, it will quickly restore your energy level should you become dehydrated. Regarding flavored water…while some flavored water is high in sugar there are some brands that don’t list any sugar on their label. Chances are that means it’s chocked full of artificial ingredients, food colorings, corn syrup and so on. So either way, going with regular old water still makes the most sense. Should you want to liven up the taste, do a quick Google search on “fruit-infused water” and select a few of the numerous recipes using natural ingredients that appear. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, enjoy your beverage without adding sugar to it.

  5. Cut down on processed food– While we love processed foods for their convenience, they are also known to be high in sugar. The takeaway here is that the less food you eat that has a nutrition label attached to it, the better it is for you and your family’s health.


The physical health benefits of getting your daily sugar intake within the recommended level are indisputable. But there are other reasons to get your sugar consumption under control. You’ll have a sense of accomplishment and be a good role model for other people in your life. Plus studies have shown over consumption of sugar may lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety.


It all adds up to this…


To live a healthy, long, and enjoyable life, you need to stay within the daily recommended level of sugar consumption.


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