According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American consumes 156 pounds of added sugar per year. That’s five grocery store shelves filled with 30 or so one pound bags of sugar. You may find this hard to believe, that’s probably because sugar is so abundant in our diets that most of us have no idea how much we’re consuming in everything we eat. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons. The AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars, without singling out any particular types such as high-fructose corn syrup. For more detailed information and guidance on sugar intake limits, see the scientific statement in the August 2009 issue of Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association.
- Plan and prepare ahead.
- Take sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses out of your reach! Don’t keep them on the counter or table, if you have to open a cupboard to get them out, you may not use them as often.
- Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and make changes from there.
- Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages.
- Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice.
- Add fresh fruit to cereal or oatmeal instead.
- When baking cookies, brownies or cakes use modifications to the recipe instead of sugar by adding extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange, lemon or applesauce. For more ideas check out this factsheet http://go.osu.edu/modify.
- Drink more water.
- Eat more fiber.
Remember that treats should be occasional! Keep them away from both your home and your desk! This is not always easy but a few tips can help us start the New Year with healthier habits.
Written by: Marie Diniaco Economos, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Trumbull County, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County, email@example.com.
Liz Smith, Ohio State University Extension, Program Specialist SNAP-ED, North East Region, firstname.lastname@example.org.