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What’s The Recommended Amount Of Sugar Per Day

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How Much Is Okay

what is a safe amount of sugar to eat per day

Expert panels worldwide have made consistent recommendations on daily sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.1 The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons per day.

That is in line with the World Health Organization‘s recommendation that no more than 10% of an adult’s calories and ideally less than 5% should come from added sugar or from natural sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice. For a 2,000-calorie diet, 5% would be 25 grams.

Limit daily sugar to 6 tsps for women, 9 tsps for men.

Yet, the average American consumes 17 teaspoons every day.2 That translates into about 57 pounds of added sugar consumed each year, per person.3

Children and teens are particularly at risk. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting total intake of discretionary calories, including both added sugars and fats, to 5% 15% per day. Yet children and adolescents in America obtain about 16% of their total caloric intake from added sugars alone.4

How Many Carbs Should I Eat

Theres no one size fits all answereveryone is different because everyones body is different. The amount you can eat and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors.

On average, people with diabetes should aim to get about half of their calories from carbs. That means if you normally eat about 1,800 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, about 800 to 900 calories can come from carbs. At 4 calories per gram, thats 200225 carb grams a day. Try to eat about the same amount of carbs at each meal to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day .

This sample menu has about 1,800 calories and 200 grams of carbs:


½ cup rolled oats 1 cup low-fat milk 2/3 medium banana ¼ cup chopped walnuts Total carbs: 65 grams

2 slices whole wheat bread 4 oz. low-sodium turkey meat 1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese ½ large tomato 1 TBS yellow mustard ¼ cup shredded lettuce 8 baby carrots 6 oz. plain fat-free Greek yogurt ¾ cup blueberries

Why Are Added Sugars Now Listed On The Nutrition Facts Label

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day. For example, if you consume a 2,000 calorie daily diet, that would be 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugars per day. Consuming too much added sugars can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is including added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label so that you can make informed choices, based on your individual needs and preferences.

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Here’s How Much Sugar You Should Really Eat In A Day

And what to know about natural forms of sugar.

A doughnut, two spoonfuls of sugar in your coffee, a flavored yogurt and a soda may not sound like anything out of the ordinary, but it turns out this lineup is about 20 grams above the recommended sugar intake per day. That’s right, health authorities recommend capping sugar intake at 50 grams per day for most adults. While 50 grams of sugar may sound like a lot, sugar has a sneaky way of creeping in your diet — and creeping up on you throughout the day.

As harmless as it may seem, overdoing sugar in your diet can lead to health problems down the line like heart disease and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this reason, and others like generally feeling better throughout the day, keeping sugar intake in check is a good idea.

Below, registered dietician Amy Shapiro breaks down exactly what smart sugar intake looks like and how to keep sugar levels down throughout your day.

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Who Calls On Countries To Reduce Sugars Intake Among Adults And Children

What Will Happen When You Quit Sugar?

A new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams per day would provide additional health benefits.

Free sugars refer to monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay, says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHOs Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases.

The WHO guideline does not refer to the sugars in fresh fruits and vegetables, and sugars naturally present in milk, because there is no reported evidence of adverse effects of consuming these sugars.

Much of the sugars consumed today are hidden in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams of free sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams of free sugars.

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Sneaky ‘healthy’ Foods Where Extra Sugar Hides

According to Shapiro, most people get their sugar intake from foods like cereal, granola, yogurt, energy bars, baked goods, juice, coffee drinks and even diet or fat-free foods. What’s pretty surprising about this is that many of these foods are labeled as “healthy” or seem like healthier, everyday food staples. But these foods are some to be wary of, or at least double-check the sugar content before you down them thinking they are healthier options.

“Granola is all-natural and often sweetened with honey or something that sounds healthier but is still added sugar. They think it is a healthy breakfast, but oftentimes flavored yogurts, even Greek yogurts, have upwards of 18g of sugar per 5 oz. serving. That is a lot,” says Shapiro. “Add the granola to it and you have hit your daily intake and it’s only breakfast time.”

Another easy way to pack in more sugar than you might plan to is to drink specialty coffee drinks. “Grab a quick coffee drink in the middle of the day to pick up your energy and you are in for over 20g of sugar,” says Shapiro. Specialty lattes and coffee drinks are often packed with flavored syrups, which may taste great in your java, but are an easy way to load up on sugar fast. A better option is to try an unsweetened coffee, or sweeten it yourself with a packet of sugar so you can at least control how much is going in your drink.

What Happens When We Eat Too Much Sugar

Consuming too much sugar on a regular basis means were eating too many calories, and if we dont use those calories as fuel, our body will store them as fat. This can lead to weight gain, and if this happens to our children, its likely they will carry the weight into their adolescent and adult years, potentially becoming overweight or obese.

Some people believe that diet affects childrens behaviour, and that children become hyperactive when they eat sugar, making them less likely to concentrate at school. This is a hotly debated topic, with many parents saying that what their child eats dramatically affects their childs behaviour. Scientifically speaking, there are no published studies to confirm this is the case. What we do know is that sugar can lead to tooth decay, which is the biggest cause of hospital admissions among children. Health experts, including the British Dental, Dietetic and Medical Associations have all lobbied the government for a sugar tax, which is now in place in the form of a Soft Drinks Industry Levy.

Read Also: What Will Happen If Your Blood Sugar Is Too High

How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day

Sugar has a bad reputation when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and body as a whole. In fact, it is considered an enemy in creating a well-balanced diet.

However, one must realize that sugar is only bad for your health if the consumption is too much. You need a healthy amount of sugar in the body for without it you will not survive. Let us take a look at the uses of sugar in the body.

  • It is a source of energy Sugar is the source of energy needed by the muscles to perform its daily work. Sugar is also the source of energy for the brain and the nervous system.
  • It metabolizes fats Sugar is needed by the body to metabolize fats and prevent the body from using protein as an energy source.
  • It backs up energy Sugar/glucose is stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. It acts as an energy reserve that can be extremely useful when the blood glucose level drops. To keep an adequate source of glycogen, you need to eat a lot of healthy sugars, which comes from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.
  • Image 1: Examples of healthy sugars/naturally occurring sugar.Picture Source:

    Picture 2: Examples of foods that people think contain healthy sugar but in reality have a lot of unhealthy sugar.Photo Source:

    Your Weight And Sugar

    How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?

    Eating too much sugar can contribute to people having too many calories, which can lead to weight gain.

    Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

    For a healthy, balanced diet, we should get most of our calories from other kinds of foods, such as starchy foods and fruits and vegetables, and only eat foods high in free sugars occasionally or not at all.

    The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat should come from each of the main food groups in order to have a healthy, balanced diet.

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    Sugar Consumption In The Us

    Lets delve into what sugar is all about and just how much sugar is too much. According to the American Heart Association, there are two types of sugars found in our diets. There are those that are truly natural that come from foods like fruit and vegetables, and there are added sugars and artificial sweeteners, such as those little blue, yellow and pink packets found at the coffee stand white sugar brown sugar and even chemically manufactured sugars like high fructose corn syrup. These added sugars are ingredients that are in foods like soft drinks, fruit drinks, candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream, sweetened yogurt, and grains like waffles, many breads and cereals.

    Some common names for added sugars or foods with added sugars are:

    • Sugar molecules ending in ose
    • Syrup

    Now that you have a good idea about added sugars, what about those naturally occurring ones from fruit? Do they count? Well, sort of. Yes, those are better choices, but some foods are high in sugar so you still want to keep that in check if youre diabetic or suffer from some sugar sensitive diseases.

    Its better to have the whole fruit, but choosing the right fruit is important. A medium-sized orange contains about 12 grams of natural sugar. A cup of strawberries contains about half that. Dried fruit and whole fruit contain about the same, calorie and sugar wise, but you lose a lot of hydration benefits due to the loss of water during the dehydration process.

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    What Is The Recommended Amount Of Sugar To Eat Per Day

    The American Heart Association guideline recommends the following criteria for sugar intake in different categories

    • For women: Consuming less than six teaspoons of sugar per day
    • For children:Consuming three to six teaspoons of sugar per day
    • For men: Consuming nine teaspoons of sugar per day

    The World Health Organization also recommends similar criteria. WHO suggests consuming no more than 5% of our daily calories in added sugar, which equals about 25 g of added sugar in a 2,000-calorie diet.

    Sugar Leaves Us Craving More

    Whats New

    It’s easy to exceed those limits. With as many as 11 teaspoons of added sugar in one 12 oz. soda, a single serving is close to double most people’s daily sugar allowance.5 But sugar also is pervasive in our food supply. A leading brand of yogurt, for example, has 7 teaspoons of total sugars in a single serving, most of it added.

    The sugar in one 12-oz soda is as much as in 1 orange + 16 strawberries + 2 plums.

    Research also shows that, for some people, eating sugar produces characteristics of craving and withdrawal, along with chemical changes in the brain’s reward center, the limbic region.

    Using brain-scanning technology, scientists at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse were among the first to show that sugar causes changes in peoples’ brains similar to those in people addicted to drugs such as cocaine and alcohol.6,7 These changes are linked to a heightened craving for more sugar.8 This important evidence has set off a flood of research on the potentially addictive properties of sugar.9

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    Risks And Side Effects

    As noted above, if youre diabetic or have any symptoms that suggest you are diabetic, have a heart problem, cancer or any disease, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Sugar, among other things, can make matters worse. Getting the proper diagnosis and then consuming a diet rich in nutrients and less sugar can offer amazing benefits to your health.

    Additionally, sugar can cause liver problems and obesity. Your doctor and a nutrition expert can help you make positive changes in your diet by limiting sugar and adding nutrient-rich foods.

    Americans Should Limit Their Added Sugars

    • Americans 2 years and older keep their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total daily calories. For example, in a 2,000 calorie diet, no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars .
    • Children younger than 2 years should not be fed foods and beverages with added sugars at all.2
  • A leading health indicator for Healthy People 2030 is to reduce consumption of added sugars by people aged 2 years and over.3
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    Added Sugar In The Diet

    Your body doesnt need to get any carbohydrate from added sugar. Thats why the Healthy Eating Pyramid says sugary drinks and sweets should be used sparingly, if at all, and the Healthy Eating Plate does not include foods with added sugars.

    An important fact to keep in mind when reading nutrition labels:4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon

    The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which amounts to an extra 350 calories. While we sometimes add sugar to food ourselves, most added sugar comes from processed and prepared foods. Sugar-sweetened beverages and breakfast cereals are two of the most serious offenders.

    The American Heart Association has recommended that Americans drastically cut back on added sugar to help slow the obesity and heart disease epidemics.

    • The AHA suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day for most women and no more than 150 calories per day for most men.
    • Theres no nutritional need or benefit that comes from eating added sugar. A good rule of thumb is to avoid products that have a lot of added sugar, including skipping foods that list sugar as the first or second ingredient. However, the growing use of alternative sweeteners can make it difficult to determine which ingredients count as sugar, because there are multiple sources of sugar with different names.

    How Many Grams Of Sugar Should You Eat Each Day To Lose Weight These Experts Explain

    A nutritionist explains an easy way to understand how much sugar you’re eating daily

    You’ve no doubt heard that sugar has been the number one culprit behind weight gain. In fact, over the last few years, sugar has all but been demonized as the terrible-for-you ingredient that is as addictive as cocaine and will lead to heart disease and diabetes. And while that’s all a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying that sugar, especially added sugar found in packaged food and sweets, isn’t great for your health.

    The American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and nine teaspoons grams for men. “Added sugars contribute zero nutrients but many added calories that can lead to extra pounds or even obesity, thereby reducing heart health,” the AHA wrote on its website. And the World Health Organization recommends only 10 percent of your diet come from added sugar, noting that “a further reduction to below five percent or roughly 25 grams per day would provide additional health benefits.”

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    Overall, the amount of total sugar you should eat in a day should be determined by your doctor or registered dietitian, especially if you’re looking to lose weight. Ysabel added that certain people, such as those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, may have more specific needs, which should be determined by their healthcare provider.

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