National Nutrition Month: 5 ways to cut back on added sugars

Mar 4, 2020


On this National Nutrition Month, we want to bring attention to added sugars, which are linked to obesity and other chronic conditions.

We're not referring to the sugars that occur naturally in many foods, from milk to fruit, but the syrups and sweeteners that are added to foods when they're processed or prepared.

So, where's the extra sugar?

Everyone knows candy, cookies, cakes, and regular sodas have added sugars. But added sugars are also listed on packaged food labels under dozens of different names. Among them: cane sugar, syrup, brown sugar and many words ending in "ose," such as fructose or dextrose.

Added sugars can be a part of a nutritious diet, too. You don't necessarily have to shun them all. However, you should limit them to less than 10% of your daily calories.

To help cut back on added sugars try the following:

1. Choose naturally sweet fruits for desserts or snacks. Add fruit, instead of sugar, to cereal. Make a peanut butter sandwich with bananas or berries, instead of jelly or jam.

2. Shop for foods with less or no added sugar. For instance, choose plain, instead of flavored, yogurt and add your favorite fruit. Try unsweetened applesauce and fruit canned in water or natural juices, rather than heavy syrup.

3. Swap your usual sweetened soda, punch or energy drink for water or milk.

4. When baking, try using only half the recommended sugar. Chances are, nobody will notice.

5. Make candy, cookies and other sweets an occasional treat.

Limiting added sugars is just one of many smart things you can do to help ensure a healthy eating plan. For more ideas, visit:

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Heart Association; U.S. Department of Agriculture