Caution: You will probably find some of your favorite foods on this list. Before you huff and puff, remember the old adage— everything in moderation! The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 36 grams a day for men and 24 grams for women. That’s a reasonable goal considering that foods high in sugar can cause weight gain, metabolic issues, and more bad news for your heart.
Eat a carton of flavored yogurt and you might as well eat a candy bar. “Despite the small carton size and association as a healthy food, a typical low-fat strawberry yogurt can contain 26 grams of sugar per serving,” says Jennifer Jackson, MD, of Ascension Via Christi Health. Opt for plain yogurt, which has zero added sugar—or Greek yogurt, with nearly twice the amount of protein—and add your own fresh fruit, plus a hanful of nuts for healthy fats and staying power. Follow these simple tips to eat less sugar (without really trying).
How can a wholesome bowl of oatmeal have too much sugar? Oatmeal on its own is healthy, but some packaged instant oatmeal varieties have upwards of 14 grams of sugar per packet! Jackson suggests making overnight oats, an equally delicious and convenient alternative. “Use one half-cup of whole oats with a half-cup of milk. Soak overnight in the fridge and you will have perfect fluffy oats to eat the next morning,” she says. Heat it up or eat it cold. Stir in nuts, fruit, chia seeds, and/or spices, or try these yummy oatmeal topping combinations.
Creamy fat-free or low-fat salad dressing seems like a great alternative when you’re watching your weight, but unfortunately, when fat is removed, it’s almost always replaced with sugar. Some versions can contain as much as 12 grams of sugar in two tablespoons. Make smarter salad dressing choices with these tasty, healthy ideas.