It’s National Nutrition Month and our TMC registered dietitians love the Savor the Flavor theme! Throughout the month Laurie and Mary are sharing tips to help you make healthier, tastier choices.

Yes, you do. And the less you eat the better. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you eat to 25 grams (or about 6 teaspoons) per day, if you are a woman. For men, the limit is 37 grams (or about 9 teaspoons).

Realize that we are talking about added sugars – any sweeteners not naturally present in food. They go by many names, such as sucrose, corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, honey, agave, brown sugar, raw sugar. These are just a few of sugar’s aliases. You may see many more names on food ingredient labels or on the package of stuff you add to coffee, tea, baked goods and anywhere else you want to add a little sweetness.

limit sugarThe problem with added sugars is their lack of nutrition. They are just empty calories, sneaking into your food to tempt your taste buds and then damage your teeth and help you put on extra fat pounds. Over time that sugar and extra body fat can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Naturally occurring sugars, on the other hand, are a normal part of fruit, dairy and other unprocessed foods. These sugars are accompanied by essential nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Think of these as calories with a purpose.

Does this mean you need to completely eliminate added sugars from your diet? No, because most of us want a touch of sweetness now and then. However, you should be aware of when, where and how much added sugar you are eating. Read those ingredient labels! Added sugar doesn’t only appear in sodas, candy and desserts. It’s also present in things we normally think of as healthy (or healthy-ish) foods – flavored yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, smoothies, cereals, peanut butter, salsa and other sauces. Once you learn to spot added sugars, avoid them whenever you can.

Check out these blogs for practical tips on reducing your sugar intake.

Bust that sugar habit in 4 easy steps

Stop the sugar addiction

Are you struggling to make these changes? Or not seeing the desired impact? Make an appointment today to connect with our register dietitians and they will analyze and make a scientifically based plan specifically for you and your special needs.