• Limiting Your Intake of Sugar

    Here's Why:

    IMAGE Since there is such a focus on eating a low-fat diet, people often think that any food that is low in fat is inherently healthy. This is not the case. For example, soda and hard candy have no fat, but they also have no vitamins, minerals, fiber, or other health-promoting ingredients. What they do have is sugar, and lots of it. A lot of sugar can add up to a lot of calories.
    Eating foods high in sugar and calories can lead to weight gain. Being overweight increases your risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Excess weight can also increase complications of other conditions you may have.
    In addition, sugary foods often take the place of healthy foods, for example choosing a soda over a glass of skim milk or snacking on gummi bears instead of on an apple.

    Here's How:

    Here are a few tips to help you minimize your intake of empty-calorie foods.

    Do Not Be Fooled by Low-Fat Sweets

    Often, when food manufacturers remove fat from cookies, crackers, cakes, and other snack foods, they add sugar to make up for the flavor lost with the fat. The result is that many low-fat snacks provide the same amount of calories—or more—as the original product. So a low-fat banner on the package does not give you free reign to eat the whole box. It is still important to look at calories and limit snacks.

    Find Other Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

    Sometimes a little bit of sugar goes a long way. Try some of these tactics:
    • Instead of the sugary cereal you have been eating since you were a kid, make a bowl of oatmeal and top it with some brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
    • Mix ¼ cup of a sugary cereal with ¾ cup of a less sugary cereal (check the Nutrition Facts label for the sugar content).
    • Snack on a bowl of applesauce; if it is not sweet enough add raisins or brown sugar.
    • Fruits, both fresh and dried, are sweet and may offer you the sweet fix you are looking for at 3:00 in the afternoon or after dinner. Before heading for the candy, try some fruit first and see if that satisfies your sweet tooth.
    • Dark chocolate (made with 70% cocoa or more) has less sugar and can be very rich and satisfying with a small amount.

    Choose Diet Versions

    If you just love the taste of soda and cannot imagine having popcorn or pizza with anything else, try a diet version. Or, if it is the bubbles you crave, have a glass of one of these zero calorie beverages:
    • Seltzer water (some are flavored)
    • Club soda (add a splash of fruit juice for flavor)


    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics http://www.eatright.org

    US Department of Agriculture http://www.usda.gov/


    Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/

    Health CanadaFood and Nutrition http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/index-eng.php


    The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide . Chronimed Publishing; 1998

    Sugars and carbohydrates. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates%5FUCM%5F303296%5FArticle.jsp . Updated June 11, 2012. Accessed August 1, 2012.

    Sugars and sweeteners. US Department of Agriculture website. Available at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/sugar-sweeteners.aspx . Updated July 3, 2012. Accessed August 1, 2012.

    What are empty calories? ChooseMyPlate.gov website. Available at: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/weight-management-calories/calories/empty-calories.html. Accessed August 7, 2012.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.