You must avoid foods with added sugar to lessen the risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, and becoming obese. New evidence has resulted in the American Heart Association issuing new guidelines with regard to intake of sugary foods. Foods naturally high in sugar such as fruit and whole grains are not as bad for you because they are nutrient-dense, high in fiber and the body breaks them down slowly instead of quickly.
Added Sugar Foods
Examples of foods with added sugar include soft drinks, candy, bought cookies and cakes, sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, ice cream and doughnuts. Also, any time you add sugar to your coffee, on your strawberry-and-whipped-cream dessert and when you bake, you consume foods with added sugar. "The main source of added sugar in the American diet is soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages," according to MedicalNewsToday.com. The best way to control these food types is to simply not eat them at all. Don't add sugar to any foods yourself. The second-best solution is to substitute regular soda for sugar-free soda or juice like Diet Coke or Crystal Light. Always make your desserts and sweets part of your meal to lessen the impact of all the sugar in your body.
Natural Sugar Foods
While foods high in natural sugars are not as bad for you, you must use caution when eating them as well. Some are better for you than others. Whole-grain cereals and breads, brown rice, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy are generally fine. However, don't eat canned, frozen or dried fruit as these varieties almost always contain added sugar. Look at the food labels on the package; some "natural foods" may have lots of added sugar in them. According to the State University of Ohio, you should "not eat foods that have sugar or "sucrose" listed in the first three ingredients." This is especially important with breads, cereals and diary products. The label "natural" may be misleading. Brown sugar is a good example of this.
Healthy Sugar Substitutes
Avoid using artificial sweeteners. While they don't contain sugar, the chemicals they do contain are just as bad, if not worse. Instead, choose natural sugar substitutes such as Stevia and Agave Nectar. They are both derived from plants and act like complex carbs when in the body, meaning they break down slowly. Compare this to regular sugar, which is a simply carb and breaks down quickly. Using either Stevia or Agave will help you control sugar cravings. They are most frequently found in health food stores or organic food stores.