February is Heart Month, which means we’re talking about… sugar? Absolutely. Even though sodium and saturated fat may be the first to come to mind when you hear “heart health,” more and more science confirms that added sugar is toxic not just for our whole-body health. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on added sugar, including how much is too much, sneaky sources, and better alternatives.
Why it’s critical to limit added sugar:
- Sugar is one of the top sources of inflammation, linked to the three leading causes of death: cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- A high-sugar diet linked to obesity, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, high blood pressure
- Sugar can worsen belly fat, energy, and visible signs of skin aging.
- Sugar impacts mental health: direct correlation between sugar consumption + mental disorders & depression.
- Bottom Line: Cutting our sugar intake will help us look better, feel better, and live better.
How much is too much: American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to not more than 25 grams/day for women, and not more than 37 grams for men.
6 Sneaky + Not-So-Sneaky Sugar Shockers + Alternatives
- Instead of Coca-Cola or 7UP | 63-65 grams added sugar in 20-ounce Coke
- Try Dasani or LaCroix Sparkling | 0 sugar
- Instead of Monster Energy Drink or Red Bull | 39-54 grams added sugar per 16-ounce can
- Try Unsweetened Tea or Coffee | 0 sugar
- Instead of 100% Orange Juice | 40 grams sugar per 16 ounces
- Try VitaminwaterZERO Essential Orange | 0 sugar
- Instead of sugar pasta sauce | 13-14 grams sugar per ½ cup
- Try Sal & Judy’s Heart Smart Sauce | 4 grams sugar (0 added sugar) per ½ cup
- Instead of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette | 14 grams of (mostly added) sugar per 2 tablespoons
- Try Hanley’s Strawberry Vinaigrette | 1 gram sugar per 2 tablespoons
- Instead of Yoplait flavored yogurt| 19 gram sugar per carton (+ only 6 grams protein)
- Try Oikos Triple Zero flavored yogurt | 6 grams sugar (0 added sugar) per carton (+ 15 grams protein)
Want more from Molly? Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune! And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: @MollyKimballRD