cutting sugar

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Focus on the Big Stuff First

For Hubbard, that meant addressing a longtime sweets habit. "In college, I worked at an ice cream shop and received free ice cream every day that I worked. I took advantage of it," she says, adding that years later, she continued to indulge in ice cream. And by identifying her main sugar source, she was better able to start cutting back.

The science: Soda and energy/sports drinks are the greatest source of added sugars in the average American's diet, responsible for 34.4 percent of all added sugars consumed, found a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The next culprits are grain-based desserts, such as cake and cookies (12.7 percent), fruit drinks (8 percent), candy (6.7 percent),and dairy-based desserts, such as ice cream (5.6 percent). Instead of going cold turkey, which can be overwhelming, Avena suggests starting by tackling the food category you most crave first (so, if cake is your weakness, try eliminating grain-based desserts first).