You know sugar is bad news. It contributes to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancers, dental issues, and a whole slew of other diseases. Studies have even shown through brain scans that sugar is as addictive as cocaine, yet we continue to consume it at a dangerous rate. Have you ever wondered how much added sugar you are taking in on a daily basis?
The American Heart Association has set recommended limits on daily intake of all sugars:
- No more than 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day of added sugar for women.
- No more than 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men.
According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which equals out to about 355 calories. That’s way over the limits.
Our bodies don’t know the difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. Our bodies process all sugars down to its simplest form, glucose. That’s what we use as fuel.
It’s important to check your nutrition labels to see how much sugar you are consuming. Look at which types of sugar are in the foods you eat. Here are a few tips for finding sugar on nutrition labels:
- Always check the total servings on the label. There may be several servings in a container, but the nutrition information typically refers to one serving.
- Not all sugar in food and drinks is added sugar. The total is natural plus added. Be sure to check the ingredient list to see if sugar is naturally occurring or added.
- Sugar is often listed in grams, which are a unit of weight. Keep in mind that four grams equals about one teaspoon of sugar.
Keep an eye on your daily sugar intake. Cutting back will help you to maintain good health for years to come, as well as ward off weight gain and unwanted dental issues. Your healthier future can begin with a simple decision.
Next time, we’ll take a look at how much sugar is really in popular beverages!