To outline how we can cut out unnecessary sugar from our own diets, we spoke with nutritionist Tara Ostrowe, who works closely with the New York Giants and MLS’s New York Red Bulls. Ostrowe helps players make healthy consumption choices so they can stay atop their mental and physical game—something we should all be doing.
Know the Data
One 20-ounce bottle of soda has the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar. That alone is more than the American Heart Association’s 9-teaspoon (or 150-calorie) daily recommendation. On a percentage basis, the USDA says that no more than 5-15 percent of your daily calories should come from sugar and unhealthy fat. When you’re looking to buy a drink or snack food, check the label. Ostrowe's advice: If it has more than 6 grams of sugar per serving, put it back.
Keep Some Sweets
You don’t have to say goodbye to all sweet things. For those occasional sugar cravings, Ostrowe suggests foods such as graham crackers, mixed berry salad, and Greek yogurt with low-sugar cereal and sliced strawberries. If you’re a chocoholic, grab a couple squares of dark chocolate. Hot chocolate (no sugar added, of course) is another good option. If you love smoothies, try one that is green-vegetable based.
Beware the Trojan Horse
There are lots of foods that might seem healthy but actually have a lot of sugar. According to Ostrowe, the biggest offenders are frozen meals, certain yogurts (check the label!), granola, salad dressing, sports drinks, and iced tea.
This article is part of the Birchbox Man 31-Day Challenge for January 2015. Click to see all daily challenges and to learn how you can win sweet stuff all month.