The most common culprit that can contribute to heart disease is added sugar in your diet. Added sugars that are not naturally found in foods aren’t good for our bodies.
Sugar is hidden in everything. Turn over a jar of peanut butter or jelly in the store, and you’ll be shocked at the hidden sugar content.
Here are also some names for added sugars on ingredient labels:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar that ends in “ose,” such as dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose
Here are some helpful tips to decrease your sugar intake:
- Cut back – Cut back on the number of sugary foods and drinks you buy. If they’re not in your house, it’s not as easy to go on a sugar eating binge. Read the labels of common foods you purchase, such as cereal, coffee, tea, pancakes, etc. Opt for brands that have half the sugar.
- Fresh Fruits – Opt for fresh fruits or buy fruits that are canned in water or their natural juice. Avoid fruits that say they are canned in syrup.
- Spices – Enhance foods with spices instead of adding extra sugar. For example, when baking, decrease the amount of sugar a recipe calls for and add extra cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or allspice instead.
- Don’t go Fake – You may be tempted to purchase everything that says low-calorie, low-sugar or artificial sweeteners, but in many cases, these aren’t better for your body. Additionally, they can mess up your taste buds, and often fake sugars are associated with weight gain, not a loss.
- Think Protein and Fat – If you crave sugar midday, opt for something more nutritious like a snack of sliced turkey breast, cheese or an apple. You can also pair this with heart-healthy fats that will keep you full longer, such as nuts, seeds and avocados.