Many foods and beverages contain added sugar (sugar added during processing). Use the tips below to gradually reduce:
Over time, aim to reach the recommended limit on added sugar.
Start eating whole fruit instead of fruit juice. For example:
Apple juice vs. apple
Orange juice vs. orange
Lemonade vs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Fruit juice contains added sugar. Whole fruit contains only naturally occurring sugar; no sugar is added. Whole fruit also contains fiber and nutrients from the skin and pulp which is generally lacking in fruit juice.
Here are a few ideas to start weening off juice:
Stop drinking soda and energy drinks. Most of the added sugar Americans consume comes from soda and other sugary beverages including energy drinks and fruit juice.
Just one of either drink is double (more than double for women) the recommended daily limit (6-9 teaspoons) of added sugar
Choose plain cereal instead of sugary cereal, and add fruit if you’re missing something sweet. For example:
You can save 8 grams of sugar per serving by eating plain Cheerios vs. Honey Nut Cheerios.
- 3/4 cup of plain Cheerios has 1 gram of sugar
- 3/4 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios has 9 grams of sugar.
Sugar in cereal adds up fast!
- 1-1/2 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios = 18 grams (72 calories) of sugar!
- 3 cups = 36 grams (144 calories) of sugar!
- 4-1/2 cups = 54 grams (216 calories) of sugar!
Start combining your sugary cereal with plain cereal. For example, combine 1/2 cup of Honey Nut Cheerios with 1/2 cup plain cheerios to limit your sugar intake and get used to the less sweet taste. (Healthy breakfast ideas)
Read the ingredient list on food or beverage package. If sugar is among the top 3 ingredients, don’t purchase the item…or start limiting the frequency of these purchases.
Ingredients on a food label are listed in order of greatest amount to least amount. If sugar is listed as the first ingredient, the product is made up primarily of sugar; it contains more sugar than any other ingredient.
Sugar might be among the top 3 ingredients, even if you don’t see the word ‘sugar’. Watch out for code names for sugar:
- Corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Cane juice
- Brown rice syrup
- More code words for sugar
Skip or limit the sugar in your coffee or espresso drink. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Use club soda as a mixer, muddle fresh ingredients, or drink alcohol on the rocks.
At least start reducing the amount of high calorie, sugary mixers you pour into your drink. Reduce the amount first by 1/4, then 1/2, then maybe 3/4 to gradually get used to a less sweet taste. Pretty soon, the ‘old’ sugary drink will taste too sweet.
Limit your intake of drinks mixed with sugary/sweet liqueurs. Examples:
Liqueurs are part of many popular mixed drinks: margaritas, daiquiris, pina coladas, long island ice teas, dessert cocktails, etc.
Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, pies), dairy based desserts (ice cream) and candy account for 25% of the added sugar Americans consume.
Find healthier dessert options. For example:
- Mash up frozen bananas instead of eating ice cream
- Eat frozen grapes to satisfy your sweet tooth
- Eat a piece of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
There are generally two ingredients that make food taste good: fat and sugar. If fat is removed, chances are sugar is added.
Add slices of banana to your peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly
If you bake, reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for by 1/4 to 1/2. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, use 1 to 1-1/2 cups of sugar instead.
Drink water during the day to hydrate. Use sports drinks as they were intended; to rehydrate the body and improve athletic performance during extended periods of exercise.
The purpose of a sports drink is to provide exercisers with energy to help improve their endurance and athletic performance.
Sugar in sports drinks is easily digestible and provides a quick source of energy (fuel) to someone exercising one hour or more. The water and salt in sports drinks help rehydrate the body and replace sodium lost through sweating.
About the Author
FitnessforWeightLoss.com was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...
Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...