How to Reduce Sugar Intake for Weight Loss

A glass of sparkling water.
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Weight loss is difficult problem for many people. One culprit that often sabotages diet plans is sugar. This sweet substance is high in calories and low in nutrition. Sugar is also craved by lots of folks, making it difficult to enjoy eating without it. Although you do not need to eliminate sugar completely to lose weight, it is necessary to cut down on its consumption. The American Heart Association reports that men should have no more than 150 calories, or 9 teaspoons, of added sugar per day, and women should have no more than 100 calories or 6 teaspoons per day. Consuming excess added sugar can increase your risk of dying from heart disease. There are some strategies to make lowering your sugar consumption easier, thereby increasing your likelihood of dropping pounds.

Step 1

Read food labels for sugar content. A good guideline is that you do not want more than 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of food. Other names to look for on a label that signify added sugar are molasses, corn syrup or sweetener, malt, sucrose, maltose, dextrose and anything else that ends in -ose, according to the American Heart Association.

Step 2

Reduce your sugar consumption gradually. Reduce the amount of sugar in your recipes to half of what you usually use and cut down by a teaspoon or two of what you put in your coffee or tea. This will give your taste buds a chance to adjust without too much of a shock.

Step 3

Eliminate soda from your diet. These sugary beverages keep your sweet tooth alive, and it is possible to consume much soda in a short amount of time. If you are a soda drinker, cutting out these beverages will make a big change in your sugar consumption. Good substitutions include flavored sparkling water or seltzer water with lemon or lime. A report in the August 2013 issue of "Obesity Reviews" states that reducing your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages will reduce your risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

Step 4

Eat a hot cereal for breakfast, such as oatmeal or grits, instead of cold cereal, which is likely to be high in sugar. If you need a sweet start to your day, add a piece of fruit to your breakfast but avoid fruit juice, which is too concentrated in sugar. Avoid instant or flavored hot cereals as they are often loaded with sugar. Instead use plain oatmeal, grits or cream of rice and add some fresh fruit.

Step 5

Take low-calorie snacks, such as whole-wheat crackers and string cheese or a banana, with you when you go to work or are on the go. This will help you resist the temptation to ingest a quick-packaged snack that is sure to have a high-sugar content.

Step 6

Reduce the amount of sugar you use in recipes. Many times, you can substitute applesauce in place of sugar. Try some "sweet" spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg or apple pie spice, to add flavor to desserts.


Snack on dried fruits, such as dates, raisins and prunes, to satisfy sweet cravings.

Try a salty snack, such as a pickle or pretzels, when you want sweets, as this can often curb the desire.


Use sugar substitutes in teas or coffees if you must have a sweetener, but limit the amount to keep your sweet tooth under control.