A simple way of cutting down on calories is by reducing the amount of sugar in your meals and snacks.
High-sugar foods are usually rich in “empty” calories, which means they provide many calories, but very few nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is much healthier to obtain the energy you need from foods that provide essential nutrients besides calories.
A good strategy to recognize high-sugar foods is to read the nutrition information panel on food labels. Use these criteria as a guide to determine if a food is high or low in sugar:
- High:has 15 grams of sugar or more per 100 grams of the product.
- Low:has 5 grams of sugar or less per 100 grams of the product.
Be careful with other names that can be given to sugars in the ingredients list you will find on food labels. Some commonly used names are: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, invert sugar, dextrose, honey, brown sugar and corn syrup.
Finally, follow these tips to cut down on sugar:
- Avoid regular sodas; replace them with a light or sugar-free version.
- Choose sugar-free drinks or water instead of sugared beverages.
- Make your own natural fruit juices instead of buying canned ones.
- Dilute fruit juices with sparkling water.
- Use an artificial sweetenerto sweeten your coffee or tea.
- Use your imagination! Instead of high-sugar jellies or marmalades, add fresh fruit to your breakfast pancakes or toasts.
- Reduce by half the sugar you use in your recipes or replace it with an artificial sweetener you may cook with, like sucralose.
- Avoid cookies filled with marshmallows or sweet creams. Select whole-wheat cookies instead.
- Try halving the sugar you use with your breakfast cereal or, even better, replace it with an artificial sweetener.
- Buy whole-wheat or high fiber breakfast cereals and avoid kids’ cereals, which are usually very high in sugar.
- If you get cravings for sweets, keep some sugar-free candies handy or light jello in your refrigerator.
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