American restaurant chains are abandoning a cornerstone ingredient

Why is refined sugar bad for you?

Restaurants across the US are cutting sugar from the menu.

More Americans are trying to cut sugar from their diet than they are any other ingredient, according data from The NPD Group, reports QSR Magazine.

This is the first time since 2014 that sugar beat out fat as the most hated ingredient on menus across America.

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In the '80s and '90s, low-fat was synonymous with health. Unfortunately, this overly simplistic viewpoint resulted in food makers replacing all this fat with another ingredient: sugar.

After decades of rising sugar consumption, the anti-sugar trend is backlash from a sugar-soaked nation. Americans consume 30% more sugar daily now than three decades ago, according to the Obesity Society. American children eat three times as much added sugar as they should.

With unhealthy levels of sugar consumption, it's no wonder that there's a growing trend of customers attempting to cut the ingredient from their food.

Restaurants are now scrambling to keep up with customer demand for lower-sugar options. Jason's Deli completed its eight-year plan to cut high-fructose corn syrup from the menu this year. This year, Papa John's announced it would cut high fructose corn syrup from its entire food menu, and McDonald's cut the ingredient from its hamburger buns.

The changes are also influencing the packaged-food industry. Beginning in July 2018, packaged-food labels in the US will be required to list added sugars.

For years, sugar was an easy way for chains to boost flavor while keeping menu items low in fat. Now, however, restaurants across the US are going to need to rework some recipes if they want to keep customers coming back.

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The biggest food trends of 2015
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The biggest food trends of 2015


The spice seems to continue to gain popularity as it's praised as a superfood for its health benefits. Studies show incorporating ground turmeric into your diet could help reduce inflammation and heal wounds.

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Savory Yogurt

You're probably accustomed to your yogurt getting sweet additions like fruit and agave, but this year we saw more savory options being tossed in the mix, like cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic and pepper (just to name one incredibly mouthwatering combination). 

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People with celiac disease have to avoid gluten, but eliminating the grain protein completely has become more of a trend among those without the health issue too -- especially as more gluten-free products become available in grocery stores. 

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You're probably used to consuming seaweed in your order of sushi rolls, but the food item is popping up more and more in dishes on restaurant menus.

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Fast Casual Options

The popularity of Chipotle seems to have sparked a new wave of fast casual dining, with spots like The Melt Shop, Num Pang, Panera Bread and many others gaining more interest from consumers.

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Ancient Grains

While quinoa saw it's rise in recent years, other ancient grains have become staples in the kitchen, including farro, barley, kamut and millet.

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Move over, coffee! Matcha, a ground powder of specially processed green tea, is popping up all over the place. It's more flavorful than regular green tea, and has been shown to have some health benefits (in addition to caffeine).

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Beets are definitely having a moment. While they aren't everyone's favorite root vegetable, those who like them, LIKE them. They're at their best when tossed in green salads or starring in their own show (with a sprinkling of goat cheese).

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This game is appearing on an increasing number of restaurant menus of late. It's an alternative to poultry or red meat that according to some is a leaner (and actually more sustainable) option.

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SEE ALSO: The government just proposed a sea change to American diets, and it could send an entire industry reeling

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