Photo by Erik Mclean

The American diet is so high in sugar that most of us easily exceeds this limit many times over daily without even realizing it.

Today, the average adult takes in 24 tsp of sugar a day. The recommended amount is no more than 9 tsp of added sugar a day for men, no more than 6 tsp a day for women and even less for children.

With Summer approaching, it’s important to know that the majority of sugar we consume is actually in sugar sweetened beverages. 

For example, drinking one can of soda or orange juice is equivalent to consuming 9-10 tsp of sugar and this exceeds the recommended amount of daily sugar for one day at any age.

Health risks of sugary drinks

Excess sugar intake causes rapid weight gain, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, poor dental health as well as fatigue, higher risk of depression and rapid cognitive decline. Recent studies now prove that excess sugar in our diet greatly increases our risk of heart disease.

Studies also reveal that excess sugar intake causes problems for the good bacteria in our gut as well as increasing inflammation of our bodies.

Decreasing sugar intake can often feel like a losing battle because beverage companies and fast-food chains spend billions of dollars a day on advertising.

Here are some simple tips for families to decrease their daily sugar intake:

  • Eliminate or at least limit sugar sweetened beverages to no more than 4 oz or ½ cup a day, including 100% fruit juices.
  • Satisfy sweet tooth cravings by offering whole fruits.
  • Hydrate throughout the day with water and milk at meals.
  • Read food nutrition labels to spot sneaky hidden sugar in processed packaged foods, such as granola bars, yogurt, salad dressings, ketchup and much more.
  • Change the culture of celebrations by replacing sweets with healthier alternatives.

As parents, let us encourage our children to drink more water and milk and keep the sugar sweetened beverages and sweet treats for an occasional weekend treat or for special occasions.

For more practical health tips for the entire family, pick up a copy now of Dr. Theresa Y. Wee’s book, “The Happy Healthy Revolution: A Working Parent’s Guide to Achieve Wellness as a Family”.

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