Many of us begin a healthy lifestyle journey by giving up sugary sodas and cutting back on cookies and other sweets. That’s a great start, but sugar may be lurking in some seemingly healthy foods, too. And yes, you should care.

The American Heart Association suggests limiting added sugars to an average of 6 tsp a day for women and 9 tsp a day for men. The trouble is, you could easily reach this amount without even having dessert! Here’s what that might look like:

You’ve hit the limit well before dropping by the vending machine—all with food disguised as healthy (organic! Whole grain!).

To avoid falling into a sugar trap, become familiar with all the code words for sugar. Just as I sometimes go by the name Sam and other times am referred to as Samantha, sugar has many names. A few of them: High fructose corn sweetener, cane syrup, honey, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate, brown rice syrup, raw sugar, and agave. Some sound healthier than others and may be less processed, but once they pass your lips, they all generally behave the same way. And it ain’t good!

Now the tricky part: A food label lists sugars in grams—not teaspoons—and it doesn’t presently distinguish between sugars that occur naturally, like those in milk products and fruits, from those that that are added. One easy way to avoid added sugar is to base your diet around lots of fresh fare, like fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat and poultry. Stick with plain varieties of yogurt and non-dairy milks, and check labels on grains and condiments to see if they contain any sugar. Eight grams of sugar may not sound like a lot but considering that every four grams is equivalent to a teaspoon, a healthy-sounding cereal with eight grams of sugar has 2 teaspoons’ worth!

For those times you don’t want to do the math, cook from scratch, etc (so, lots of days for busy people), Luvo has you covered. We’re all about limiting the things you don’t want—like sugar and salt—and laser focused on the things you do, such as fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals from real fruits and veggies. Because our meals contain so much produce and quality food, it is real food that’s been frozen for those moments when you have to work through lunch or want to spend an hour at yoga instead of in your kitchen whipping up dinner. Best of all, none of our products have more than two teaspoons of added sugar, although the vast majority have far less—under a teaspoon.

By the way, becoming sugar aware has its perks. By choosing foods with less added sugar, you’ll be selecting healthier fare and dialing down your sweet tooth. You’ll be able to get control over your cravings — maybe for the first time in your life — and you’ll feel more energetic than you have in ages. It may take a little getting used to at first, but I encourage you to give it a try. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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