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Realistic Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  March 12, 2012 10:17 AM

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Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that children are consuming about 16 percent of their calories or about 280 to 360 calories daily, on average,  from added sugars, with the majority of the added sugars coming from edibles found in the kitchen cupboards in their homes.   This amount of added sugar is equivalent to 18 to 23 teaspoons of sugar or the amount of sugar cubes in the photo on the left.

So which foods and beverages are the biggest sugar culprits?  Additional research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition uncovered that the major food sources of added sugars in the diets of children are grain-based desserts (cookies and cakes), candy,  syrups, dairy desserts (ice cream) and ready-to-eat cereals, while soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks were the big ticket beverage items.

Not surprisingly, these edibles are the same high sugar rollers being consumed by adults.  In fact, Americans of all ages, on average, are consuming about 140 calories daily of grain-based desserts, according to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.   With over 65 percent of Americans overweight, do the majority of us really need to be eating cookies and cakes daily?

Click here to watch this Fox25TV segment to learn how to realistically reduce added sugars in the diet.


The Take-Home Sugar Message:

1.    Since cookies, cakes, and candies are huge sources of added sugars in the diet, don’t buy the large, warehouse-sized boxes and packages of these sweets and treats.   The more you buy, the more you are going to eat.   Stick to smaller, supermarket-size packages and don’t be so quick to replenish the supply in the kitchen cupboards when these sweets are gobbled up.

2.    When choosing breakfast cereals, reach for the wholegrain variety and make sure that they contain only about 8 grams of sugar (the equivalent of two teaspoons of table sugar) or less per serving.   These sweetened cereals are, by far, a healthier alternative to breakfast donuts and other pastries. 

3.    Fruitades, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and of course, soda are pure sugar in a glass.  These shouldn’t be the daily beverage of choice.  Switch to skim milk at meals and water in between meals to keep hydrated.

For more on good nutrition, visit: kidseatright.org and eatright.org.

Have you reduced the added sugars in your diet?  Share your tips.
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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