For a Serious Health Boost, Cut Down on Sugar

A diet packed with sugar may not be so sweet for your health, according to this health policy professor.

Recently, the FDA dramatically revised its recommendation for how much sugar Americans should eat, reducing it to only 10% of daily calories. According to health policy professor Laura Schmidt of the University of California, San Francisco, this is a step in the right direction and will help people stay healthier.

Cutting down on sugar in your diet isn’t as hard as it sounds. These 5 tips will help get you started.

1. Cut back on sugary drinks

This is a great first step for anyone who wants to reduce their sugar intake. Many drinks pack a lot of hidden sugar. Schmidt recommends switching to diet drinks if you need to, and then move to water or other sugarless beverages.

2. Get it out of your cabinets and fridge

It's a lot easier to cut back on sugar when you aren’t surrounded by temptation. Clearing out sugary foods and treats will help you modify your eating habits—and resist the urge if you do get a craving.

3. Wait longer to let kids first have sugar

If you have a newborn or young child, try delaying the time when they have their first soda or sugar-laden fruit juice. The basic theory here is that if kids grow up enjoying a diet with less sugar, they'll have more of an appreciation of more natural foods and drinks.

4. Be wary of processed, packaged foods

Highly processed foods that come in bags, cans and boxes frequently have a lot of hidden sugar. Get in the habit of reading nutrition labels thoroughly so that you can make the most informed decisions.

5. Build a healthy eating community

It's easier to eat healthier when you have support. Try creating a community in your school, neighborhood or parent-teacher organization that celebrates low-sugar, healthy eating.

Spoon with sugar cubes

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