Limiting sugar intake is essential if you are working to lower triglycerides . Sugar has a direct impact on triglyceride levels. Elevated triglycerides can cause your total cholesterol to be greater than 200 mg/dl.
The USDA recommends limiting sugar intake to 10 teaspoons per day, but the average American consumes 34 teaspoons per day.
Here are 7 tips to cut back your daily sugar intake:
1. Gradually cut back.
If you eat a high level of sweets daily it’ll be very difficult to cut them out “cold turkey”. Gradually wean yourself off the sugar. If you have 2 cans of soda daily, cut back to 1. If you enjoy dessert with lunch and dessert, cut back and limit dessert to one meal only. Continue to wean yourself down until the sweets are an occasional treat.
2. Use sugar substitutes when baking.
Applesauce and fruit purees are a great option to replace half the sugar in a recipe without impacting the quality of your baked dish. You can also use them to replace the fat in recipes.
3. Watch ingredient lists.
Sugar can be easily “hidden” in food just because you don’t know how to pronounce half the words in the ingredient list let alone understand what equals sugar. Here are some common terms for sugar - brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, glucose, honey, hydrogenated starch, invert sugar maltose, lactose, mannitol, maple syrup, molasses, polyols, raw sugar, sorghum, sucrose, sorbitol, and xylitol.
4. Switch to all-fruit spreads.
All-fruit spreads are a great alternative to jams and jellies. They are just as sweet and flavorful, but with much less added sugar. Check you grocery store to see your options next time you shop. Goes well on toast, mixed with plain yogurt, and slightly heated to drizzle on pancakes and waffles in place of syrup.
5. Avoid sports drinks.
Sports drinks have done a great job marketing to the world of individuals interested in being physically active for improved unhealthy. Unfortunately many sports drinks are loaded with sugar, such as Gatorade, All Sport, and Powerade. It’s much wiser to replace your fluid losses from a good workout with water.
6. Lemonade is not usually made with lemons.
Lemonade is usually packed full of sugar. Instead of regular lemonade make a switch to Crystal Light or other zero calorie lemonade options. You could also enjoy a glass of tea sweetened with lemons.
7. Evaluate your breakfast cereal.
Check the label of your breakfast cereal. Does it provide less than 8 grams of sugar per serving? If not, consider making a switch to an unsweetened cereal and use berries to add a little sweetness instead.
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.