Nationwide, 30 million children and adults have diabetes, and 86 million are prediabetic, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
November is National Diabetes Month, and an excellent opportunity to take steps to decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is being overweight. But the good news is, according to the ADA, losing just seven percent of your body weight can decrease that risk by 58 percent.
One way to manage your weight is to cut back on sugar, which can often be a sneaky source of weight gain.
Before getting started, it’s important to remember that many healthy foods naturally contain sugar, a carbohydrate your body burns for energy. Processed sugars are different, adding calories that provide no other nutritional benefit, and at excessive levels, disrupting your metabolism, and potentially posing serious health risks.
The USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend that added sugar account for less than ten percent of your daily calories — that’s a maximum of 50 grams a day for average women and 62.5 grams for men. To keep your sugar consumption in the healthy range, Courtney McCormick, Corporate Dietitian at Nutrisystem offers the following tips:
• Hold the Ketchup. You know baked goods and candy are loaded with added sugar, but so are many foods you may not think of as especially sweet. A tablespoon of ketchup, for instance, has four grams of sugar. Salsa, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce and even bread are hidden sources of sugar.
• Sweeten with Spices. Replace sugar from coffee, hot cereal and other foods with spices that have a naturally sweet taste, such as vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, instead.
• Flavor Your Water. A 12-ounce can of soda has as much as 40 grams of added sugar. Skip the soda and drink water sweetened with fresh fruit and herbs, like strawberries and basil or lime and mint.
• Start with Plain. The fruit in the bottom of your yogurt can come with 25 or more grams of added sugar. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh or dried fruit.
• Snack on Fruit. One cup of blueberries, for example, has seven grams of natural sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth, but the fruit also comes with fiber to help you feel full and slow the breakdown of the sugars, so you don’t crave more calories soon after eating it.
• Bake with Applesauce. Eating fewer baked goods is sure to reduce your sugar intake, but when the occasion calls for you to make a cake, replace a third of the sugar in the recipe with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce. For a delicious no-sugar added applesauce recipe, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com/recipes.
• Eat Right and Often. When you’re hungry, you crave calories and that too often leads to sugary snacking. Reduce between-meal munching by eating healthy, filling foods four to six times a day. Programs like Nutrisystem provide portion-controlled meals and snacks throughout the day, giving you the structure you need to eat right.
This National Diabetes Month, make small swaps to reduce your sugar intake and more easily manage your weight.