ADDED SUGARS are everywhere in the modern diet. They’re in sandwich bread, chicken stock, pickles, salad dressing, crackers, yogurt, and cereal, not to mention soda and desserts.

The biggest problem with added sweeteners is that they make it easy to overeat. They’re tasty and highly caloric but don’t make you feel full; tricking you into wanting even more.

Speaking of trickery, the sugar industry has long conducted an aggressive campaign to blame the obesity epidemic on fats. Fats, after all, seem as if they should cause obesity. But research increasingly indicates that an overabundance of simple carbohydrates, and sugar, in particular, is the driving force behind diabetes and obesity epidemics.

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Limit daily sugar to 6 tsp (25 g) for women, 9 tsp (38 g) for men. The average American would need to reduce added-sweetener consumption by about 40 percent to get down to even 50-grams/day.
  • Keep your juice portions small. While real fruit juice has no added sugar it is one source of natural sugars that can be dangerous. A 12-ounce glass of apple juice can have nearly 40 grams of sugar.
  • Eliminate soda from your regular diet. Just get rid of it. A single 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams of sugar. That’s more added sugar than most adults should consume in an entire day.
  • What about dessert? Keep it small! A single Oreo cookie (the regular kind, not “double stuff”) has one teaspoon of sugar. Start thinking about 2-3 Oreos as the size, and sugar content, to shoot for if you can’t pass on dessert.
  • FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A single piece of cheesecake at Applebee’s has 1,000 calories (which is half the calories a typical adult should eat in an entire day) and a whopping 21 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine pouring 21 teaspoons of sugar into your mouth after a meal.
  • Don’t worry so much about the sugars that are a natural part of the fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. Most people don’t overeat naturally occurring sugars because the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that surround them fill you up.
  • At the supermarket, compare various brands, and choose one with little to no added sugar. Do this once, and then it’s easy to make the no-sugar items your default. You no longer have to spend energy thinking about it.