How to Reduce Added Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners in Your Diet

how to reduce sugar intake

You know too much sugar and artificial sweeteners are bad for you. Here are some tips to help you reduce their role on your diet:

Become a label reader.
The best way to avoid added sugar and artificial sweeteners is to recognize the foods manufactures put them in. It also helps to know the names they masquerade under on food labels. The artificial sweetener Nutrasweet, for example, might be called aspartame on a food label. Added sugar goes by lots of names including lactose, dextrose and maltrose. (See a longer list of added sugars here.)  

Keep a food journal.
If you're serious about reducing your consumption of added sugars or artificial sweeteners, consider keeping a food journal. They're one of the few tools shown to help people change eating behaviors and diets.

Cook from scratch.
When you create meals from scratch, you can control the amount of sweetener -- artificial or natural -- that goes into a dish. Some of the biggest added sugar offenders are sauces, which often have easy recipes.

Use natural sweeteners. 
If you're concerned about artificial sweeteners, there are plenty of alternatives that aren't artificial. Chances are they'll have more calories than artificial sweeteners, so keep that in mind when you substitute. Here's a list of 15 natural sweeteners.

Learn to love water.
From fruit juice to sweetened coffee to tea to sodas, sweet drinks are a big part of the American diet. In fact, more than 60 percent of Americans drink a sugar-sweetened beverage everyday. Another 15 percent drink diet drinks. That's a lot of added sugar and artificial sweeteners. But water doesn't contain either and should be your go-to drink.


This content was last reviewed and updated during February 2021.

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