I heard that the average American woman should only take in around 6 tsp. of sugar per day. Does that mean bread and fruit, etc. too?

It is good that you are staying up on dietary statistics and recommendations. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that women should limit their “added” sugar intake to 6 tsp. per day and men 9 tsp. per day. The type of sugar they want people to limit is sugar that is added, such as the granulated sugar added to coffee, in soda, cookies, candy, cake, etc. This does not apply to sugars that occur naturally like those found in fruit and milk. It has been estimated that Americans consume a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, which is well over the recommended suggestion by the AHA. The biggest culprit in many people’s diets is soda. Each 12-oz. can of soda contains nearly 8 tsp. of sugar!

For those trying to reduce their sugar intake, begin by doing a diet analysis. Record everything you are eating and drinking and try to find areas that could use some improving. If you are a soda drinker, try to slowly wean yourself and eventually switch to water or low sugar juices like Healthy Balance. If chocolate is your weakness, indulge occasionally in a small amount of antioxidant filled dark chocolate. If you find that you have a sweet tooth, try to begin experimenting with healthier sweet options like Greek yogurt with fresh berries or a fruit filled smoothie. In addition, when “craving” sweets, ask yourself if you are truly hungry for sweets or if you may be experiencing an emotion that may make you feel better if you get dessert? Sometimes sugary-rich foods can make one that is stressed, sad, or angry feel a lot better. If this is the case, try to find an activity that could take the place of sweets such as a brisk walk, massage, hot bath, or a good book.

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