Too much sugar can be bad news for your health. When left on your teeth, sugar gives bacteria the food it needs to thrive and create cavities. Further, high sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and poor heart health. And while the average American consumes 22 grams of sugar a day (that’s twice the recommended amount), it’s surprisingly not hard to take a few simple steps to dramatically reduce your intake. Here are 6 things you can do today to reduce the amount of sugar you consume: Pay attention to labels. A lot of times, we don’t realize how much sugar that we are consuming because we simply aren’t aware of the sugar content of the foods we consume. Being aware of sugar content will help you make better decisions about what foods you eat. Switch to a natural sugar substitute. A recent interest in more natural sugar substitutes has resulted in more people consuming products that aren’t just better for you, they can actually promote good health. Xylitol, for example, has actually been shown to reduce cavities. Choose a sugar free gum. Bathing your teeth in sugar while you chew gum is obviously not a good idea. Many brands of sugar free chewing gum are actually made with Xylitol, which as previously mentioned, helps to reduce calories. Eat Fresh Fruit…Instead of canned. Many times fruit that has been processed and preserved has also had sugar added. If you do eat canned fruit, be sure that it’s been packed in 100% fruit juice instead of those labeled “light syrup” which refers more to the thickness of the syrup used and not its sugar content. Drink water, not soda. A 12 oz. can of soda often contains over 39g of sugar! You can kick the soda habit and dramatically reduce your sugar intake by simply choosing water instead. Pack your lunch and avoid fast food. Surprisingly, nearly every item on most fast food menus has added sugar, even hamburgers! You can keep track of exactly how much sugar you are getting and avoid hidden sugars by packing your own lunch.