How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake: Plus a Healthy Raspberry Clafoutis Dessert

October 6, 2019

How Much Sugar is okay to eat

by Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

Download a printable version here.

While the dangers of sugar are becoming more talked about, many Americans still have a looooooooong way to go to avoid doing permanent damage to their body.

The American Heart Association suggests that we limit our daily sugar intake to 6 teaspoons (about 25 grams) a day for women and no more than 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams) for men. This equates to about 100 calories for women and 150 for men. Are you within the recommended limits?

Look at the grams of sugar in not just the food you’re eating but the beverages you’re drinking, too. I had a conversation the other day and my heart hurt. The person was drinking 8 cups of sugar a day in 2 gallons of Kool-Aid….8 cups!! 

The fact is, we all need to periodically check in with ourselves to see how much sugar we’re consuming. If you’re surpassing your daily limit, try to reduce your intake with these suggestions.

Tips to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Purge the pantry and clean out the refrigerator. Get rid of the cookies, pastries, and sugary cereals. Replace these items with less sugar-sweetened options.

Look at the ingredient list.  Words like honey, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, fructose, maple syrup, sucrose, brown sugar, dextrose, maltose are all ways of saying SUGAR.

Do the math. The list above says where the sugar is hiding, but the numbers will tell you how much is lurking. Remember that the nutrition label represents the amount per serving, so make sure you’re considering how much of the item you’re actually eating in a day as opposed to the serving information.

Eat fresh fruit instead of the processed options. When possible, eat them as close to their natural form as possible. For example, fresh fruit is better than dried fruit, which is better than fruit juice, which is better than fruit-flavored snacks “made with real fruit.” Choose fruits with the most color, too.

Use whole grain products in place of processed breads and grains.

And please

Read the labels on your beverages. Kool-Aid isn’t the only liquid villain when it comes to sugar. Juices and “health beverages” often have a significant amount. And it is so easy to drink your calories instead of chewing them.  See how your beverages measure up with the recommended daily limit of sugar (remember: about 25 grams a day for women and about 36 grams for men).

Opt for drinks that have less sugar, like infused water, water, unsweet tea, herbal teas …or unsweet tea with a splash of sweet tea on top.  Many restaurants now offer ½ sweet and ½ unsweet… that’s definitely better than a regular sweet tea! 

If you’re looking for a sweet fix with less of a sugar punch, try this recipe from Ellie Krieger’s SO EASY.

Raspberry ClafoutisLow sugar dessert recipe Raspberry Clafoutis


  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 tbsp plus 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/1/2 cups fresh for frozen (unthawed) raspberries
  • 1 large egg and 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 c low-fat milk
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter, cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or raspberry liqueur
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F.
  2. Spray a 9-in. pie plate with cooking spray and coat with 1 tbsp flour, shaking off the excess.  Scatter the raspberries on the surface of the dish and reserve.
  3. In a medium size bowl, combine the egg and egg whites, milk, granulated sugar, butter, vanilla or liqueur, flour and stir to incorporate, making sure not to over work the batter.  Pour the batter over the raspberries.  Bake until the clafoutis is golden brown the center is set 45-50 min.  Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information: 120 cals, 3.5 gm fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 5 gm protein, 18 gm carb, 140 mg sodium

Join Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, for her monthly award-winning Providence Cooks! cooking classes in Columbia, SC. The class tackles various dietary hurdles by creating, with her team of chefs, a multi-course gourmet meal that promotes health and fits within dietary restrictions. All guests enjoy the healthy sit-down meal with live Q&A from Kay, the chefs, and other special health expert guests. It's a must-try for people interested in healthy eating without losing the flavor and joy of eating. 

Call 800.424.DOCS (3627) to learn about the next Providence Cooks!