How to Limit Sugar in Your Diet

A sugary diet can spell trouble, not only for your cholesterol levels, but also your overall health. Limiting added sugars will help cut down on empty calories and can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for heart health.

While your body doesn’t need sugars to work well, eating small amounts won’t harm your health. Women should limit themselves to 6 teaspoons per day. Men should shoot for 9 teaspoons each day.

If you’re looking to cut down on sugar in your diet, you can:

  • Limit foods with added sugars like candy, cakes, or cookies.
  • Cut back on sweetened soft drinks and sodas.
  • Avoid refined carbs like white bread and pasta.
  • Drink fewer alcoholic beverages.
  • Swap sugary breakfast cereals or bars for whole foods like fruits, oatmeal, and yogurt.
  • Check food labels for total added sugars.
  • Choose foods that are low on the glycemic index, which help keep your blood sugar level stable. This includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Regular exercise can also help burn any extra calories you take through a sugary diet.

If you’re looking to cut back on sugar and you’re not sure how to get started, ask your doctor or a nutritionist for help.

When to See a Doctor

High cholesterol has no symptoms. If you’ve not sure about your levels, ask your doctor. They may do a simple blood test to check it. Doctors recommend that all adults older than 20 years old should have their cholesterol levels checked every 4 to 6 years.

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may ask you to change your diet and make lifestyle changes to get it under control. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.


American Heart Association: “Sugar 101,” “How to Get Your Cholesterol Tested.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Why a Sweet Tooth Spells Trouble for Your Heart.”

Mayo Clinic: “Triglycerides: Why do they matter?” “HDL cholesterol: How to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol.”

UPMC Health: “Cholesterol and Sugar: Is Something Sweet Turning Your Cholesterol Sour?”

Harvard Health: “Added Sugar in the Diet.”


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