Sugar alternatives that make following the new USDA dietary guidelines easy

Jan 7, 2016 at 12:35 p.m. ET
Image: Kristin Lee/Getty Images

For the first time ever, the USDA's new dietary guidelines are recommending that we limit added sugar in our diets.

Added sugars, like those found in ice cream, store-bought bread (really!) and beverages should make up just 10 percent or less of our calorie intake. That's 200 calories (if you're following a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet) or slightly less than one 20-ounce Coca-Cola.

So why recommend the 10 percent limit? That's because "there's overwhelming evidence that too much sugar causes diabetes, heart disease and weight gain," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told NBC.

But a life without any sweet-tasting foods would be boring. In moderation, there are other natural sweeteners that can be used to give your food a little extra something without the ill effects of refined white sugar.

Use the conversion chart below to replace typical sugar in your favorite recipes. You'll still be able to sate your sweet tooth (reducing the risk of binge eating your favorite processed sweets down the line) while keeping your health a priority.

sugar alternatives conversion chart
Image: Swanson Vitamins

More on sugar reduction

5 Sweet ways to reduce your sugar intake
Why you need to get off the sugar
5 Tips to cut sugar without cutting taste

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