Whether you are of the Def Leppard generation or the Maroon 5 generation — there’s no question that love and sugar are synonymous. There’s good reason why pop bands equate love with sugar. It’s sweet and addictive — and like love, we find we can’t live without it.
However, Americans are consuming way more sugar than they should. According to the American Heart Association, Americans eat about 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day, according to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database. Added sugar is the sugar added to food during preparation, processing, or at the table. It does not include naturally occurring sugar, such as fructose or lactose, which are found in fruit and milk. Teens and men consume the most added sugars. Average daily consumption for men: 335 calories, women: 230 calories, boys: 362 calories, girls: 282 calories. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance come from added sugars. For most women, this is no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons); for men, it’s no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons).
So, clearly we have some work to do, but how do we break our love affair with sugar? Well, we have a few suggestions based on personal experience . . .
Here’s our list of six things you can do to make the break from sugar:
– Revamp your morning coffee or tea. I used to add sugar to my coffee, but last year, I stopped. Cold turkey. It was tough, but I did it, with the help of my Aerolatte (frothed milk made a big difference for me!).
– Drink water (flat water, mineral water or seltzer). No soda, no juice, nothing with added sweeteners. Add a little fresh lemon or lime or infuse with berries or cucumbers if you long for some flavor.
– If you must use a sweetener, replace refined white sugar with natural sugar sources like honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup in your baking and cooking. I now sweeten my Banana Bread with maple syrup and use it to replace the white sugar in other desserts like Blueberry Crisp and Apple Clafoutis.
– Sweeten with fresh fruit. Overripe bananas are the main source of sweetness for my Banana Maple Walnut Ice Cream. They are a great sugar replacement. Fresh fruit can also be used to sweeten plain yogurt or regular instant oatmeal.
– Make your own salad dressing. Processed salad dressings (and most condiments) include a lot of added sugar. Consider making your own quick vinaigrette which relies on the sweetness of balsamic vinegar – try the herbed vinaigrette that we use on our Grilled Vegetables.
– If you find that you can’t eliminate white sugar completely, consider cutting your usage in half. Rather than adding 1/2 cup of sugar to your recipe, drop it down to 1/4 cup. Oftentimes, recipes call for more sugar than necessary. Start experimenting to see where you can cut the amount of sugar.
These are just a few suggestions to help you on your way to reducing or eliminating sugar altogether. You will find that once you start reducing your sugar intake, you will need way less to satisfy your sweet tooth.