Too much sugar in the diet can contribute to tooth decay and unwanted pounds packed around your middle.
Many foods have naturally occurring sugar, which is generally sufficient to ensure that your body has enough fuel. Consuming too much added sugar is what you should be concerned about, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.
Women should limit their added sugar consumption to no more than 6 teaspoons a day (less than that found in a 12-ounce can of non-diet soda) and men to no more than 9 teaspoons a day, according to the American Heart Association.
The academy offers these suggestions for limiting added sugar:
- Cut back on desserts, baked treats and candies.
- Snack on foods that are heart-healthy, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
- Drink water, instead of drinks with added sugar.
- Avoid processed foods, as they often are high in sugar, fat and salt.
- Bake treats with recipes that use less sugar, or cook with a sugar substitute.
Health Tip: Keeping a Food Diary
Keeping a food diary can help you stick to a healthy diet, develop healthy eating habits and monitor caloric intake, which are important in maintaining a healthy weight.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these tips on what to record in your food diary:
- Exactly what foods you ate -- don't forget to include any condiments, sauces or other extras.
- The amount of food that you ate, in either size or volume.
- What time of day that you ate, and where you were when you ate.
- What you were doing when you ate, and how you felt when you were eating.
- Whether you were alone or with someone else.