Monday, March 4, 2019

Life has become much sweeter for most Americans — but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, added sugars make up more than 13 percent of the total calories that Americans consume each day, which exceeds the recommended limits for added sugar. The rates are especially high among children and young adults. For about one in 10 people, added sugar accounts for about 25 percent of their total calories.

Eating or drinking too much added sugar can lead to cavities, weight gain and a higher risk of developing chronic medical conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Here are some tips on how to identify added sugars and reduce some of the sugar in your diet.

  • Learn how to read labels: Added sugars go by many names. Examples include: corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sweetener, glucose, raw sugar, brown sugar, sucrose, fruit juice concentrates, maltose, lactose, turbinado sugar and more. The closer to the beginning of the list of ingredients on a nutrition label, the higher concentration of that ingredient in the food or beverage.
  • Cut out or limit sugar-sweetened beverages: Instead of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks, opt for water, low-fat or fat-free milk, 100 percent vegetable or fruit juice, coffee or unsweetened tea. Keep in mind that a 12-ounce cola has about 39 grams of sugar — that’s nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar.    
  • Swap fruit for sugar: If you need a sweet treat, try eating fresh, frozen or dried fruit. Also, top your salads, cereal and pancakes/waffles with fruit instead of sugary salad dressings or maple syrup.
  • Reduce the amount of high-sugar food items you eat: Limit how much candy, jellies/jams, syrup, and dairy and grain-based desserts (ice cream, cookies, cakes and puddings) that you eat. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of low-fat proteins and high-fiber foods that are low in sodium.

Although we hope these tips will help improve your health, we know that you and your family members will still get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, Norman Regional has you covered. Log on to Norman Regional Virtual Care and visit with a provider today from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $45 for each visit.