How to cut back your sugar consumption

Consuming too much added sugar can increase your chances of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

According to experts, an overload of sugar goes straight to the liver, overwhelming its ability to process it. This can raise the risk of fatty liver disease. Below are some ways to help reduce your sugar intake.

Sweetened beverages account for about 47 percent of added sugar in the American diet. A 20-ounce bottle of Coke contains 65 grams, more than the recommended daily limit.

Try swapping out your soft drinks for seltzer water with a splash of no-sugar-added juice or tea. Instead of flavored yogurt or fruit juice in the morning, try to eat more grain-based foods with little or no sugar, like Cheerios or plain oatmeal. Better yet, have scrambled eggs, fruit or nuts.

Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinic, shared this advice: “Swap out the added sugars, increase your consumption of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and low-fat dairy products.”

Two of the four biggest ingredients in Heinz ketchup are sweeteners, and the biggest ingredient in many barbecue sauces is high fructose corn syrup. Instead, try using other sauces that forgo the sugar, like French’s yellow mustard or Prego’s marinara.

Watch out for words on ingredient labels that are used to disguise sugar: like dextrose, fructose, saccharose, agave nectar and evaporated cane juice.

“When you start to reduce the intake of sweets in your diet, your body gets accustomed to it and you won’t miss it,” said Jamieson-Petonic.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day for men and 24 grams for women. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Americans consume anywhere from 73 to 82 grams per day.

Contributors to this news report include: Katie Campbell, producer; Roque Correa, videographer and editor.