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Tips for Reducing Sugar in Diet

By Mike Samuels

Eating a diet high in sugar can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Not all sugar is created equally, though. The naturally occurring sugars you find in fruits and vegetables aren't as much of an issue, as these foods are packed with vitamins and minerals. The type of sugars you should focus on cutting down are the added sugars in processed foods.

The Soda Switch

Soft drinks can be a main contributor to sugar in the diet. A 32-ounce soda can contain as much as 104 grams of sugar, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When you're thirsty, reach for a glass of water, instead. Or, if you want something with a little more flavor, try flavored teas, a black coffee, sugar-free flavored water or even a sugar-free diet soda.

Take It Slow

It is possible to become "addicted" to sugar, or to eat sugary foods often as a regular habit, so going cold turkey is not likely to work for most people. The National Health Service suggests that you cut down on your added sugars gradually, so that you don't notice the change. Reduce the amount of sugar you have in your coffee or in your cereal and in the amount you eat in your dessert.

Go Natural

Artificially sweetened dairy products like flavored yogurt and milk can cause your sugar intake to skyrocket. Instead of buying pre-flavored dairy products, pick natural ones and flavor them yourself. A cup of natural or Greek yogurt mixed with fresh berries and chopped nuts can be just as tasty as a flavored yogurt and it is far lower in sugar.

Check the Labels

Sugar can be hidden in lots of foods you may not suspect are secret sugar carriers. Read the food labels carefully to see exactly how much sugar is in the foods and drinks you're eating, recommends Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News. Prime examples of this include fruit smoothies, low-fat salad dressings and low-fat granola-based cereals -- all of which are often marketed as healthy, yet can be very high in sugar.

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