Incredibly, Americans consume an estimated 130 pounds of added sugar per capita annually. Adults consume about 22 teaspoons daily; children roughly 32 teaspoons (that’s just shy of three-fourths of a cup). The single food category most responsible for upping the average added-sugar intake: soft drinks, accounting for 33 percent of added sugar consumed daily.
Overconsumption of added sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates (like those found in breads, pizza, cold cereals and other baked goods) has been linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One of the most effective moves you can make to improve your health is cutting back sharply on sugar consumption; in particular, avoid sugared beverages entirely. If this seems daunting, taper off slowly – add slightly less sugar to your coffee or tea, have one fewer soft drink per week, etc. You will quickly discover that the craving for sugar dissipates. Foods that once seemed pleasantly sweet will now taste cloying.
As for sugar alternatives, steer clear of artificial sweeteners – I have seen no good evidence that they help with weight loss. I personally favor maple syrup: it has a complex flavor that I find very satisfying, so much so that I use no more than a tablespoon or two per week.
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