Love Your Heart: Cutting Back on Added Sugar

Red heart in hand isolated on white

Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women? It’s hard to believe that more women die of heart disease than cancer. In fact, ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. That news might be heart breaking, but it doesn’t have to break yours. One way that you can love your heart and reduce your risk for heart disease is by reducing the amount of added sugars in your diet. Added sugars in the diet have been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. All of these conditions can put you at increased risk of heart disease.

Sugar-sweetened beverages and foods like cereal, desserts, and candy all contain sources of added sugars. How much is too much? Well, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons or added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men. That adds up to only 100 calories of added sugar for women and 150 calories of added sugar for men. With the average person consuming over 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, it is important for consumers to have options.

This is why sugar substitutes like aspartame can play an important role in loving your heart. Aspartame contains zero calories, tastes delicious, and is safe to enjoy. This makes it a great option for women wanting to reduce their overall sugar and calorie intake. By switching from regular to diet soda, this can save you over 8 teaspoons of added sugar. Over time, that can really add up! Aspartame is not only an effective for weight loss, but it can also be effective for weight maintenance. Reducing overall calorie and added sugar intake by choosing aspartame can lead to weight loss, which can help lower body weight and decrease blood pressure and cholesterol values. That is not only good news for your waistline but also great news for your heart!


AmberchairAmber Pankonin MS, RD, CSP, LMNT is a registered dietitian and licensed medical nutrition therapist based in Lincoln, NE. She works as a nutrition communications consultant, freelance writer, food photographer, and adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Amber shares her love for food and nutrition at, an award winning website, focusing on healthy, easy recipes for the busy cook. Amber serves on several boards including the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, and also cofounded a group to motivate female entrepreneurs in her town. You can follow her on Twitter @RDamberInstagramPinterest, or connect with her on Facebook.

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February 18, 2015 Lifestyle Advice