If you’re like most Americans, you’re eating a lot of sugar—about 150 pounds a year, or 22 teaspoons a day—well over the recommended limits of 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. About 120 pounds of that is from processed foods, says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of The Beat Sugar Addiction Now Cookbook. The type of sugar—high-fructose corn syrup or cane sugar, for instance—isn’t as important as the amount, Teitelbaum says. “People are getting up to one-third of their daily calories from sugar and white flour, and it’s creating an epidemic in Type 2 diabetes and obesity.”
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If you’re wondering whether you’re addicted to sugar, you probably are, Teitelbaum says. His suggestions for cutting back on the sweet stuff:
- Go cold turkey on the worst offenders: sodas, sweet tea, energy drinks and some sports drinks and juices.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with stevia, a natural, no-calorie sweetener available in products like Truvia and Stevia in the Raw.
- Read labels to figure out which foods you eat have the most sugar. Divide the sugar grams per serving by 4 to convert to teaspoons. “If it’s 1 or 2 teaspoons per serving, you might be OK with that,” Teitelbaum says. “If it’s 7 teaspoons per serving, you might say ‘No way.’”
- Include protein in meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar stable.
Five Surprising Sugar Sources
- spaghetti sauces
- white hamburger and hotdog buns
- deli meats
- canned corn and peas
- canned soups
- low-fat salad dressings