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Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult
by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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There's a new bad guy in the food world: Sugar! It's been shown to be related to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. The good news is, if you're already trying to lose weight, then you've probably already cut back on this :)

There are new research efforts to scientifically prove these negative effects on the body, making this claim more than just a fad or trendy new diet. 60 Minutes recently did a story about all the negative health impacts associated with sugar as well as research being done to provide further evidence for these claims. They're not the only ones waging a war against sugar. Schools have worked really hard to take sugary beverages out of vending machines and cafeterias, new advertising is popping up to educate the public about the dangers of sugary beverages, and the city of New York has banned super-sized cups in an attempt to encourage the reduction of sugary beverage intake.

I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of reducing sugar in your diet. There's certainly no need to cut it out entirely, but reducing it in your and your family's diet is only going to be beneficial. It's exciting to me that there is a new respect for the importance of nutrition on health. It's long been understood how much food impacts a person's health, but there wasn't much public attention paid to it until a few years ago. It's an exciting time to be a dietitian, because from the ground up, there are many steps being taken to encourage improvement in people's diets.

I always encourage moderation, no matter what the food. Sugar is no different. Whether you're looking to lose weight or just improve the health of your diet, the recommendations are the same. Stick with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These foods only contain naturally occurring sugars and also are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. These foods don't need to be limited in your diet. It's all the other extras that need special attention paid. Start by decreasing or cutting out sugary drinks in your diet. This not only will save you calories but also cut down on your excess sugar intake. Limit the consumption of other sugar-rich foods like cakes, cookies, candies and ice cream. There's no need to never eat these foods again, just be conscious of portions and how often you're eating them. In general, the more aware you are of what you're eating, the more likely you are to eat better. Every small step you take to improve the overall health of your diet is not only going to save you calories but improve the overall health of yourself.

What steps have you taken that have been helpful in lowering either sugar or calories in your diet?

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@ 9:10am ET on August 25, 2012 I have cut it out completely and the results have been nothing short of astounding so far (9 weeks). I have written about it on my blog. :) It's not as hard as it sounds...
@ 9:01pm ET on September 2, 2012 How much weight loss in 9 weeks when you cut out sugar ?
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