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SUGAR AND HEART HEALTH


Sugar does the body…. Bad. There are so many factors that lead to weight gain, some things that we can change and some that we cannot. The non-modifiable risks include age, family history, ethnicity, and gender. What are some modifiable ones? Smoking, physical activity, and diet. Diet is so vast, so let’s focus on sugar.


The American Heart Association recommends that added sugar should be limited to less than 6% of total calories per day. That measures an average of 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. This may seem like more than enough added sugar daily, however, the average American consumes over 20 teaspoons!


Some ways to decrease the sweetness?

  • Try to steer clear of soda and other sweetened beverages. One 12oz can of soda has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. Instead, try fruit-infused water and seltzers.


  • Start to look at nutritional labels. Foods that are not typically sweet can still have hidden sugars including premade pasta sauces (3 teaspoons of sugar per half-cup serving), “Healthy” food like granola bars and yogurts (2.5 teaspoons of sugar), sports drinks (one 16 oz drink has 7 teaspoons of sugar), bread (1 teaspoon per slice).


  • Know the other names of sugar and try to minimize foods with them: syrup (like corn syrup), words that end in “ose” (like fructose, dextrose), “sugar” in the name (like brown sugar, raw sugar)



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