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8 Ways to Cut Sugar

The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar each day - four times the amount considered healthy.  The connection to obesity, diabetes and heart disease are well known.

But how can you break the sugar habit?

Switch to whole grain carbohydrates and completely eliminate drinks with added sugar

The top sources of calories among Americans are desserts, white breads and sweetened drinks. Note that our bodies do not recognize the difference between white bread and white sugar. They do, however, distinguish between white bread and wheat bread. Wheat bread has fiber and is absorbed more slowly in our bloodstream, keeping us fuller for longer and regulating sugar highs and lows.

Replace regular soda with sugar free alternatives

Try diet drinks, water with lemon, Crystal Light, unsweetened tea with Splenda or Stevia, seltzer water and herbal tea.

Use fruit as a sweetener

Substitute some of the sugar and liquids in a recipe with ripe bananas, applesauce, pineapple or other fruit puree. Dried fruits like dates, raisins and figs add wonderful sweetness to foods.

Try Stevia

This herb is extremely sweet by nature but without any calories or sugar-like effects on the body. You can use as little as a couple of drops to sweeten a mug of tea or a few teaspoons in a dessert.

Cut back on the sugar in your recipes

Start by cutting the amount by 1/4, 1/3, even 1/2. See at which point you really start to notice a difference. Over time you will likely find that you enjoy the less sweetened version.

Use brown rice or whole wheat pasta

Whole grain foods are an excellent source of fiber and are packed with nutrients you need to be healthy. Try stuffing baked green peppers or tomatoes with brown rice and making macaroni and cheese out of whole wheat noodles.

Use whole grains in mixed dishes

Try adding barley to vegetable soup and stews. You can use bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Remember to check the food label on packaged foods. Whole grain foods will have a whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

Experiment with whole wheat flour and oat flour

Try substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flour-based recipes. Tip: You may need a bit more

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