New facts about sugar

Facts about sugar you may have not known.

In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that no more than about five to 15 percent of your total daily calories come from added sugar and solid fats. The American Heart Association recommends that adult women limit their daily intake of added sugars to 100 calories, or six teaspoons. Adult men should consume no more than 150 calories, or eight teaspoons of added sugars. If eight teaspoons seems like a lot, consider that one 12 ounce can of soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar. These guidelines only apply to added sugars because foods that contain them are usually low in nutrients, such as cookies, candy, cakes and ice-cream. Foods that have naturally occurring sugars, such as fruit and milk are found to be healthier.

To determine your intake of added sugars, keep a record of how much sugar you consume in one day. You can exclude the naturally occurring sugars, which is sometimes difficult to separate from added sugars. Look on the product labels for sugar amounts, usually listed at the top of the ingredient list or several types of added sugars scattered throughout the ingredient list. Some examples of added sugars are: High fructose corn syrup, syrup, cane sugar, brown sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose, corn sweetener, molasses or honey.

Consuming large amounts of sugar contributes to weight gain, heart disease and dental problems. It can also lead to potential health concerns such as poor nutrition and increased triglycerides. Michigan State University Extension suggests reducing added sugar in your everyday diet by:

  • Drink water or other calorie-free drinks
  • Drink 100 percent fruit juice, not those with added sugars
  • Skip sugary and frosted cereals
  • Choose fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Buy canned fruit packed in water or juice
  • Snack on vegetables, fruits, low calorie cheese, wholegrain crackers

Limiting the intake of added sugars can increase your intake of nutrient dense foods, giving you more important vitamins and minerals. Reading product labels and choosing more whole foods will lead to healthier, balanced ways of eating.

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