The New Year's been rung in, and it's time to face all those commitments you've made to eat healthier and lose weight. But where to begin?
A good place to start is by checking the ingredients lists of the foods you eat for added sugars. Foods and beverages that contain large amounts of added sugars are usually relatively high in calories and low in nutrients.
The USDA defines added sugars as those that have been added to foods and beverages during processing or home preparation. Some of the most common added sugars you will find in an ingredients list are honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, corn sweetener, sucrose, lactose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup and malt syrup.
According to 1999-2002 US survey data, Americans each ate a whopping 74 pounds of added sugars per year. That equals 23 teaspoons of added sugars, or the equivalent of hundreds of calories, each day. Certainly this much sugar would add pounds to your waist over time.
When looking at prepared foods, check the Nutritional Facts Label under Sugars for the amount of sugar in the product. Then look at the ingredients list for added sugars. Remember that ingredients are listed in order by weight, so the higher up in the list an ingredient appears, the more the product contains. This will help you decide if a food has too many added sugars.
By cutting down on added sugars, you will be eating fewer calories while eating healthier foods. And you will see the results on your waistline.
Megan Porter, RD