Day 2: Sugar

There are two types of sugar:

  • Simple sugars – These are naturally occurring, and can be found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Refined sugars – These come from the sugar cane plant and are used to make processed foods and drinks like baked goods, cereals, sodas, and fruit juices. These “added sugars” can even hide in unsuspecting places, like ketchup, tomato sauce, and bread.

Refined sugars are the ones we want to avoid when we can. Refined, or “added sugars,” in excess have been linked to health concerns, like:

  • acne
  • type 2 diabetes
  • depression
  • poor dental health
  • gout
  • an increased risk of heart disease
  • inflammation in the gut
  • and more


So, what are some simple ways you can reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet? The American Heart Association shares these five tips:

  1. Swap out the soda. Water is best, but if you want something sweet to drink or are trying to lose weight, diet drinks can be a better choice than sugary drinks.
  2. Eat fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits. Choose fruit canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup. Drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess syrup or juice.
  3. Compare food labels and choose products with the lowest amounts of added sugars. Dairy and fruit products will contain some natural sugars. Added sugars can be identified in the ingredients list. (usually look for around 5 gm of sugar/serving)
  4. Add fruit. Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh fruit (bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots). (be aware that dried food is usually coated in sugar, so opt for dehydrated fruit or juice sweeten dried fruit)
  5. Cut the serving back. When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often you won’t notice the difference.
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