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11 ways to tame your sweet tooth

September 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

During a pandemic, it's easy to turn to comforting sugary and carb-rich treats. But it's not always a good idea. New recommendations will likely lower the amount of sugar we should consume. Here are ways to reduce sugar but still enjoy your food.

They are sugars or sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation.

The average American gets about 13% of their total calories from added sugars, but new recommendations call for that average to be cut by about half, according to a recently issued report from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — a group of experts charged with providing science-based recommendations every five years.

The 2020 committee recommended a limit of no more than 6% of calories coming from added sugars, with ranges from 3% at the lowest calorie levels and up to 8% at the highest calorie levels (which vary based on age, gender, activity level and body weight).

The committee also recommended that children younger than age 2 should avoid any foods and beverages with added sugars.

"While it's great if you can get added sugar intake to no more than 6% of calories, depending on your current diet, the (previous) recommendation of no more than 10% of calories may be a more realistic and achievable goal to aim for first," said Denver-based registered dietitian nutritionist Kelli McGrane, who works as a dietitian for Lose It!

Five food categories — sweetened beverages, desserts and sweet snacks, coffee and tea (with their additions), candy and sugars, and breakfast cereals and bars — contribute 70% of the added sugars we consume in the United States, according to the dietary guidelines committee.

Cut back gradually and include more protein and fiber-rich foods in your diet, which will help you crave less sugar.

Consume low-sugar or no-sugar-added versions of foods.

You can sweeten these foods with natural, nutrient-rich sources of sugar like berries or diced fruit.

Added sugars are often present in foods that you might not think of as "sweet," like sauces, breads, condiments and salad dressings.

This will help you determine how much of your added sugar budget a food or beverage contains.

By January 1, 2021, all foods and beverages will be required to list added sugars on food labels.

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