Looking for a way to eat healthier this summer? Try swapping that ice cream cone for a nice fruit kebab.

The average adult consumes nearly 20 teaspoons of sugar — from processed foods, desserts and candy — per day, which wreaks havoc on their health.

Added sugar is a "quadruple whammy" — it’s a source of excess calories, doesn’t contribute real nutritional value (such as fiber or vitamins) to the diet, and it’s linked to dental inflammation and higher risk of diabetes and cardiac disease. Consuming sugary processed foods also displaces other, better-for-you foods from your diet.

So, no, "from a health standpoint, sugar is not the best," said Dr. Donald Hensrud, a public health and general preventative medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic.

For years, people have taken that as a cue to swap out white sugar for honey, maple syrup and other, more natural sweeteners.

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Hate to say it, but those syrups aren’t actually doing that much to help.

Honey, maple syrup, fruit juice and other high-calorie sweeteners still are high-calorie and low in nutritional benefits.

The FDA is actually moving toward classifying these "free" sugars — which are, technically, natural — in the same category as white sugar, Hensrud said.

"The effect, overall, of sugars, depends on the amount we consume, as well as what is present along with the sugars," Hensrud said.

Don’t despair, though — there is one kind of sugar you can consume without guilt (or an ever-widening waistline).

Hensrud recommends people consume all the fresh fruit (and the sugars they contain) possible.

How? A small to medium piece of fruit, Hensrud said, is about 60 calories. Not all of that is sugar, though — fruit contains water, fiber and vital nutrients.

"There’s a perception that people should limit fruit," Hensrud said. "But fruit is not associated with weight gain."

Want to lower your added sugar intake? First, cut down (or out) the sugary beverages you drink. Look for other ways sugar is sneaking into your diet and eliminate some of those. Then consider adding more fresh fruit to your diet. We have some ideas in the sidebar.

Be careful with fruit juice and dried snacks. These can contain vitamins, but removing the fiber (in the case of juice) or water (with dried fruit) automatically increases the sugar concentration. Stick to whole fruit, when you can.

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, period. Hensrud said one 20-ounce soda can contain seven teaspoons of sugar — which puts the average adult over their dietary recommendations for the whole day.

Wondering how much sugar you should be getting?The World Health Organization suggests keeping sugar intake to under 10 percent of one’s daily calories. For an adult with a 2,000-calorie daily intake, that means fewer than 200 calories just from sugar. Note: this number doesn’t have to include fruit, Hensrud said — just things like white sugar and honey. Unfortunately, about a tenth of the population gets one quarter of their daily calories from sugar, he said.

No-calorie sweeteners like Stevia and Splenda have a slight edge over white sugar, Hensrud said, because they don’t add empty calories to your plate or cup. However, they may still have adverse effects, like making you crave other sweet things more. "People who consume a lot of diet soda tend to weigh more," Hensrud said. "They don’t provide calories, but (people) may eat sweets from other sources during the day."

Looking for ways to eat more fruit? Try these refreshing summer treats, compiled by dietician Kaitlin Anderson, and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Easy fruit sorbet

1 1/4 pounds frozen strawberries, honeydew, or pineapple

2 tablespoons. agave nectar

1/4 cup water

Place frozen fruit in a food processor; add agave and water. Cover and process until smooth.

Pour mixture into an 8x4-inch loaf pan. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

Let stand at room temperature to soften, about 15 minutes, before serving.

Serves 4.

Watermelon layer cake

1 medium-large seedless oval or oblong watermelon

16 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt

Flaked coconut

8 ounces blueberries

8 ounces strawberries

Wash the watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.

Cut a 3-inch-thick slice from the ends of each side of an oblong, seedless watermelon. Use slices for another purpose.

Place watermelon flat on a cutting board and cut down the sides of the watermelon to remove rind. Cut so that the melon looks like a double-layer cake.

Set on paper towel to drain excess water. Using more paper towels, pat the sides and top of the melon to remove excess moisture.

Place melon upright on a serving dish or cake stand.

"Frost" the cake top and sides with non-fat Greek yogurt. Allow to chill for 30 minutes.

Prior to serving, touch up any areas that are in need of more yogurt.

Press coconut into the frosting. Decorate with berries, along the edge that touches the plate and in concentric rings on the top.

Serves 12.