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Food for Thought: Tips to cut down added sugar intake

Staff Writer
Washington County News
Washington County News

Lowering the amount of added sugar in your diet not only will help you loose weight, it can also help lower your risk of many chronic diseases.

According to, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children, but dietary guidelines suggest that people should limit calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day. Consuming added sugar can cause weight gain, increase your risk of heart disease, increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, could increase your risk of cancer, could increase your risk of depression, could accelerate the skin aging process and can cause tooth decay.

Here are a few tips to cut down on added sugar, according to the American Heart Association:

1. Toss the table sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses: Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean down from there.

2. Swap out the soda: Water is best, but if you want something sweet to drink, diet drinks can be a better choice than sugary drinks.

3. Eat fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits: Choose fruit canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup.

4. Compare food labels: Choose the products with the lowest amounts of added sugars. Dairy and fruit products will contain some natural sugars, but added sugars will be identified on the ingredients list.

5. Add fruit: Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, try fresh fruit or dried fruit.

6. Cut the serving back: When baking, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half.

7. Try extracts: Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts (almond, vanilla, orange or lemon).

8. Replace it completely: Enhance foods with spices (ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg) instead of sugar.

9. Substitute: Switch out sugar with unsweetened applesauce in recipes, using equal amounts.

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Emerald Salad

Serves: 12


2 (3-ounce) packages lime-flavored Jell-O

1 (0.25-ounce) package unflavored gelatin

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice

Juice of 2 small lemons, plus the zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 2 limes, plus the zest of 1 lime

Water, as needed

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise


Lightly spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish or other mold with nonstick oil spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Jell-O and the unflavored gelatin.

Strain the crushed pineapple through a fine-mesh strainer set over a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Measure out 1 cup of the pineapple and reserve. (Save the remaining pineapple for another use.) Add the lemon and lime juice to the measuring cup with the pineapple juice. Add enough water to bring the liquid level to 2 cups. Transfer to a small saucepan.

Bring the juice mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the boiling mixture into the bowl with the Jell-O and whisk to dissolve. Let sit until lukewarm, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the cottage cheese, condensed milk, mayonnaise and reserved pineapple into the cooled Jell-O mixture until the milk and mayonnaise are thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Refrigerate until fully set, at least 1 hour.

When ready to serve, sprinkle both zests across the top of the salad. Slice the salad into squares and serve. (Alternatively, before zesting, dip the bottom of the baking dish into a pan of hot water to loosen. Flip the salad out onto a large serving platter and sprinkle with zest.)



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