You might want to pump the brakes before running to the store to grab that half-priced box of Valentine’s Day candy. While a moderate amount of dark chocolate might actually boost heart health, eating too much sugar is one of the worst things we can do for our health, explains Nurse Rose Melendez, RN.

Why is eating too much sugar bad for our health?

Nurse Rose: Eating too much sugar can lead to a number of health problems, including:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

How much sugar is too much?

Nurse Rose: A great way to think about your overall health is to follow heart-healthy guidelines. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily added sugar intake to maintain a healthy heart.

  • For men: 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of sugar per day
  • For women and children: 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar per day

How can we limit our sugar intake?

Nurse Rose: Of course you should limit things like candy and packaged baked goods or sweets, but sugar hides in our food and drinks in lots of other ways. Try these easy tips to cut down on your sugar intake.

  • Avoid soda, fruit juice and sports drinks
  • Try fruit-infused water or seltzer topped-off with a splash of 100% juice
  • Always read the Nutrition Facts and look for “sugar” or “syrup” in the ingredients
  • Try fruit or plain Greek yogurt with a dash of honey for a sweet-tooth fix

We know you can’t always pass up the cookie. When you do indulge in dessert, try eating just half of a regular portion. And always read the nutrition label to find the appropriate serving size.

Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

Take our free online Heart Risk Assessment during Heart Month this February for a chance to win a D.C. getaway.