Added Sugars Aren’t So Sweet

Are you monitoring how much sugar you are eating daily? Consuming too much sugar can have negative long-term health effects. For example, weight gain from the excess calories, and/or chronic diseases such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure can develop from too much added sugar.

Current recommendations for women are to consume no more than 6 teaspoons, and men no more than 9 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.



Added sugars are not only referring to the sugar used when cooking or sweetening beverages like iced tea and coffee; sodas, candies and our processed foods also have some added sugar.

Added sugar is not the natural sugar typically found in fruits and our dairy products like milk and yogurt, although some of these foods can be processed with added sugar. Think: flavored milk or yogurts, and fruit packaged in syrup can turn a healthful food into a sugary treat.

Having trouble deciding how many teaspoons of sugar per day you are consuming? Use measuring spoons to determine the amount your adding when at home or at restaurants. Non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, and Truvia are also available as alternatives to using traditional sugar and can help you lower your added sugar intake to meet the recommended daily limit. The Nutrition Facts Label and a little math can help with your processed or packaged foods.

A teaspoon of sugar is about four grams; divide the grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts Label by 4 to see how many teaspoons of sugar are in each serving.

For example, a 12 oz regular soda contains approximately 11 teaspoons of sugar! That calculation brings the recommendation for women to no more than 24 grams, and for men no more than 36 grams, of added sugar per day.

By Anna Dean, MS, RD, LD

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