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How Many Teaspoons of Sugar Do You Consume Daily?

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us should question the amount of sugar in our diets. If you look around, sugar is everywhere, and often not questioned at all, as it blends into our food and drinks.

Recently the Washington Post focused on the matter. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco said they found American adults consume an average of 17 teaspoons of sugar in their food and beverages.

The daily limit is no more than six teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men, according to the American Heart Association.

Daily sugar consumption should be limited to 10 percent of an individual's calories, according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but the figures show most adults get at least 15 percent of their daily calories from added sugar.

Where Sugar Shows Up

UCSF researchers have found some 60 different names for sugar that is added to food and drinks, including honey, molasses, white or brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, sucrose and dextrose.

Check Where Your Sugar Comes From

See if you can spot the culprits in your diet.

  • Soft drinks
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Ice cream
  • Soups
  • Breads
  • Cured Meats
  • Ketchup

Wherever you add sugar you risk heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Scientists say the body does require sugar for energy, but most of us are eating way too much.

Ways to Eliminate Sugar

Here are some tips from the American Heart Association.

  • Check ingredient labels for sugar content
  • Buy fresh or frozen fruit. If you choose canned avoid fruits in heavy syrup. Rinse off excess syrup or juice.
  • Hide the sugar bowl, honey and molasses.
  • Cut back on the sugar added to pancakes, tea, coffee or cereal. Wean yourself off of large amounts.
  • Check your recipes for sugar content and consider substituting unsweetened applesauce.
  • When baking brownies, cakes or cookies cut the sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead of sugar, try extracts like vanilla, orange, lemon or almond.
  • Switch from sugary sodas to sugar free teas, juices and waters.
  • Check your pantry for sugar-loaded cookies and pastries.
  • Switch from ice cream to sugar-free Greek yogurt and add dark chocolate cocoa or low sugar jam.
  • Top cereal or oatmeal with cherries, banana, strawberries, cranberries or apricots instead of adding sugar.
  • Use ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in foods instead of sugar.

The switch to less sugar may take a little time, but as you do you may lose your taste for extra sugar, and really prefer fresh whole fruits and foods with less sugar. Your body will be a happier too.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mesa, Ariz.

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