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Nutrition for Heart Health

Avoiding added sugar for heart health

Sugar not naturally found in food products, but added during processing and preparation. This does not include natural sugar found in fruits and milk. Decreasing sugar intake can help lower triglycerides and help control your blood sugar.

Common culprits of added sugar include soda, sports drinks and juices. There can also be high amounts of added sugar in food products that are marketed as "healthy" options, like granola bars, yogurt, reduced-fat salad dressings or even canned beans. It's important to read the labels, looking for items with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Choose a healthy breakfast by avoiding sugary cereals, instant oatmeal or Pop-Tarts. Instead, try old-fashioned oatmeal or whole fruit instead of canned fruit, which is often packaged in heavy syrup.

Even items that are consumed in smaller portions can have surprising amounts of added sugar, which add up over time. For example, Nutella's main ingredient is sugar and sugar typically makes up 100 percent of the calories in ketchup. These foods are fine in moderation, but be sure to watch serving sizes and resist thinking of them as insignificant amounts of sugar and calories. 

Choosing heart healthy food options

One of the easiest ways to avoid unhealthy snacks is to simply not bring them into your house. Preparing a good shopping list and sticking to it at the grocery store can help.