According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, Americans are guilty of consuming the most sweeteners. Further, we also lead when it comes to sugar production and imports.
You may have known—or been able to guess—that already, but did you know that Harvard Medical School reports that about one in 10 people get a whopping one-quarter or more of their calories from added sugar? You don’t need to cut sugar completely out of your life. Natural sugars from fruits and dairy are okay for you to consume. It is those added sugars found in so many products in the grocery store that are doing more harm than good.
When it comes to cutting down on unnecessary sugar, where do you start? Here are a few products you can easily swap out that can make a difference in your diet.
- Coffee Creamer: A lot of coffee creamers come with added sugars to help with flavoring. Don’t worry, you don’t need to switch to black coffee, but you can be more vigilant when checking labels and choosing brands. Grab some Stevia and, if you miss the creaminess, splash some almond milk into your coffee to help rid your morning coffee of artificial sweetener.
- Chewing Gum: You may not even think about it when sticking a piece of gum in your mouth, but it can affect your diet. Though there isn’t a ton of added sugars, it is still something that you can cut out. You don’t have to quit cold turkey if you love to chew the day away—switch to brands like Simply Gum, which uses natural ingredients to cut out what you don’t need.
- Salad Dressing: These dressings can be packed with sugars, but there is a better way to eat a salad. Use olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinegar, honey and more to help give your salad that extra oomph—without the extra sugar.
- Wine: I know, this one hurts to read a little bit. It is easy to drink a glass or two every day after work and those sugars add up quickly. If you really need your wine but want to limit reaching for the bottle multiple times (or mindlessly), try buying your wine in single servings to help you keep control.
- Dessert: This one is pretty obvious, but thanks to food bloggers, the internet is full of endless healthier options to still satisfy your sweet tooth. My favorite traditional dessert substitute is oatmeal cookies made with banana and applesauce to help sweeten them naturally, along with Stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips to still get a taste of my favorite treat.