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Here’s the scoop on added sugar

Key Lime Dessert Bites
Key Lime Dessert Bites - Sueann Musick

Did you know that too much added sugar can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases? Sugar provides you with calories (from carbohydrate) but no other nutrients. Current guidelines recommend limiting added sugar to no more than 50 grams a day. This is about 12 teaspoons (4 g sugar = 1 teaspoon).

Examples of added sugar you may be using:

• White, brown or icing sugar

• Honey, molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, agave, jam or jelly

All choices give you about the same number of calories. There is not one type that is a better choice.

Read Labels Carefully                

Sugar is added to many products. It is important to read the ingredient list to see if sugar has been added. Look for ingredients that represent sugar, some examples are:

• Glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, glucose-fructose, invert sugar, barley malt   extract

• Fruit juice concentrate and fruit purée

Another tip is to check the Nutrition Facts Table for the total amount of sugar in the product (4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon).  If the product does not contain fruit or milk, then most of this sugar has been added. Foods like grains, milk, plain yogurt, fruit and some vegetables contain natural sugar, along with other important nutrients. These are healthy choices.

Cutting Back

Cut back on added sugar gradually. You will soon get used to a less sweet taste.

To reduce added sugar:

• Limit candy, chocolate, desserts and other sweets. Save these for special occasions

• Cut back on the sugar you add to coffee, tea and cereal

• Use fresh or frozen fruit to flavour plain yogurt, cereal, waffles or pancakes

• Choose unsweetened dried fruit

• Mix together plain and flavoured yogurt

• Drink white milk or unsweetened milk alternatives more often

• Love chocolate milk? Try mixing it half and half with white milk

• Use small amounts of condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce

Rethink Your Drink

The largest contributor of added sugar in our diets are sugary drinks. Limit sweet beverages such as regular pop, iced tea, fruit punch, energy drinks, sports drinks, hot chocolate and specialty coffee. These drinks can contain a lot of added sugar and few nutrients.

Try these alternatives:

• Unsweetened coffee or flavoured coffee, plain latte or espresso

• Unsweetened tea or herbal tea

• Homemade unsweetened iced tea flavoured with lemon or mint

• Water or sparkling water flavoured with lemon, lime, berries, cucumber or fresh herbs

Nutrition Events

Register for Teresa’s Secrets to Better Blood Sugars class Tuesday, Aug. 28, 5- 6:30 p.m. at Sobeys Westside and Wednesday, Aug. 29, noon-1:30 p.m. at Sobeys Aberdeen. Call 902-755-3645 or email to register.

Teresa Flynn is a Sobeys dietitan in New Glasgow. She offers many services at the Westside and Aberdeen Sobeys stores including one-on-one counselling, workplace wellness events and a variety of in-store nutrition classes. You can find Teresa’s month nutrition class scheduled at the pharmacy and customer service. To receive her schedule of events and Healthy Bits and Bites Newsletter sent directly to your inbox, register at

Key Lime Dessert Bites

Serves 24


1 cup 250 ml Cashews

3/4 cup 175 ml Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup 125 ml Coconut, shredded, unsweetened

2 tbsp 30 ml Lime zest

1 tbsp 15 ml Lime juice


1. Place cashews in a dry frying pan and toast until golden brown and fragrant.

2. Put dates in a food processor and blend until they are chopped into small pieces.

3. Add cashews, coconut, lime zest and lime juice to food processor. Process until mixture is a smooth,

4. Measure out 1 tbsp of batter and roll into balls. Let cool in fridge until set.

5. Store dessert bites in fridge in an air tight container.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories 77

Fat 4 grams

Carbohydrate 11 grams

Fibre 1 gram

Protein 1 gram

Sodium 1 milligram

Tip: Finding the mixture too sticky to roll? Wet your hands with water before rolling to prevent sticking.

Source: Sobeys Dietitians

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