Tag Archives: soda

Cut Down on Added Sugar to Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

Last week, we mentioned that eating too much sugar increases your risk for heart disease. Today, let’s talk about how to cut down on sugar intake and reduce your risk! Some sugars, such as sugar found in fruit and milk, are naturally occurring and found in foods that are good for us. We’re going to focus on how to cut back on added sugar, the type that is linked to poor health.

What is added sugar and where can you find it?

Added sugar is exactly what it sounds like: sugar that is added to a food. This includes sugar that you use in a recipe or add to a food at the table (for example, sugar you add to your oatmeal or coffee). It also includes sugar in processed and prepared foods and beverages.

You can figure out if a food contains added sugar by reading the ingredient list on the food label. Be on the look out for these names for “hidden” sugar in processed foods and beverages:

  • high fructose corn syrup
  • malt syrup
  • cane sugar
  • brown sugar
  • caramel
  • sucrose
  • turbinado
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • agave
  • fruit juice concentrate
  • And many more that you can find here

How much added sugar is too much?

The American Heart Association has guidelines for how much added sugar is too much. For women, the recommendation is no more than 6 teaspoons, or about 100 calories per day. For men, the recommendation is no more than 9 teaspoons, or about 150 calories per day. To put that into perspective, just one 12 ounce can of soda contains almost 10 teaspoons of sugar, or about 156 calories from added sugar. So one soda puts you over the recommended limit, not including the many other foods that contain added sugar, like desserts, candy, cereal, etc.

How can you cut down on added sugar?

Tame Your Sweet Tooth 

If you’re craving something sweet, try reaching for a piece of fruit or sugar-free gum instead of a candy bar or piece of cake. Over time, you will start to tame your taste buds and you will get used to eating less of the sweet stuff.

Sip Smarter

You wouldn't eat 40 packets of sugar, so why would you drink them? Thanks to the New York City Department of Health for creating this memorable public health campaign.

You wouldn’t eat 40 packets of sugar, so why would you drink them? Thanks to the New York City Department of Health for creating this memorable public health campaign.

Did you know that sugary drinks are the biggest source of added sugar in the American diet? Sugary drinks include soft drinks like soda or pop; fruit-flavored drinks (NOT 100% juice); sweet tea and coffee sweetened with sugar; sports drinks; energy drinks; and flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry milk. These drinks add lots of empty calories from sugar and have little nutritive value.

To cut down on sugary drinks, start small by cutting out just one drink per day. Swap your sugary drink for something non-sugary such as water flavored with slices of your favorite fruit or calorie-free drink mixes. Check this out for more ways to “rethink your drink”:

Coming up, we’ll talk about how you can cut down on added sugar in recipes you make at home. Check back to learn more!

Share with us: What’s your favorite way to sip smarter?

Water is Better. Why Drinking Your Calories is Not Eating Smart.

Eat Smart. Drink More Water.

Eat Smart. Drink More Water.

A few months ago, I shared this picture from MyPlate on our Facebook page. It really surprised me because 400 calories is how much most people need for an entire meal. Much of those calories are coming from added sugar in soda or fruit-flavored drinks (not 100% juice).

Why does it matter?

  1. We are getting way too much added sugar in our diets. Regular soda is the leading source of added sugar in our diets.
  2. Drinking calories doesn’t make you feel full in the same way that eating the same amount of calories would. So you end up eating more later on.
  3. Buying soda and fruit drinks takes away from money that could be spent on nutritious foods. This is a major issue for those of us with limited food budgets.
  4. Many children in America don’t drink enough water. (Read more about how much water kids need every day from Kids Eat Right.)
Everyone can enjoy the taste and health benefits of water.

Everyone can enjoy the taste and health benefits of water.

Water is Better.

  • Water is one of 6 essential nutrients your body needs to function. In fact, our bodies are about 60% water.
  • Water is sugar and calorie free. You can drink it without worrying about your weight.
  • There is some evidence that drinking water before meals can actually help you eat less calories, aiding in weight management.
  • Tap water is available and free, at home and in most restaurants. There’s no need to spend extra on bottled water, when a lot of times, it’s also just tap water, too.
  • Water doesn’t have to be boring or flavorless. You can jazz up plain water with sliced fruit, veggies, or herbs.

Got Milk and Juice?

Milk and 100% juice have calories. But they also have essential nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, that soda doesn’t. We need 3 cups of dairy a day, but this also includes low-fat cheese and yogurt. Most days, you won’t need to drink 3 cups of milk to get all your dairy.

Likewise, 100% juice is an easy way to get fruit. But whole fruit (fresh, frozen or canned in 100% juice) has more nutrients, especially fiber, than juice. For that reason, we should limit 100% juice to just 1 cup (8 ounces) a day. For young kids, who need less fruit, ½ cup (4 ounces) a day is all they should drink.

Some beverages that contain calories (milk and 100% juice) are fine to drink, but most of our hydration should come from plain old water. Cutting out sugary drinks is better for our waistlines and wallets. Here are 10 Tips for Making Better Beverage Choices from MyPlate to help you drink smarter.