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How Much Sugar Should You Be Consuming Daily?

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  March 13, 2014 11:03 AM

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If the World Health Organization (WHO) has its way, the recommended amount of sugars that you should be consuming daily is about to drop dramatically.  The organization has proposed that sugars should provide less than five percent of your total daily calories, about half the amount of their previous recommendation.   Their proposed advice is based on research that suggests that sugars are related to both excess weight gain and tooth decay.

So what would this small amount of sugars look like daily?   If you need to consume 2,000 calories daily to maintain your weight, this will translate to no more than 100 calories from sugar or the equivalent of about six teaspoons of sugar per day.    For many of us, this measly amount would be exceeded by eating a carton of fruit yogurt:

Currently, Americans are consuming over 20 teaspoons of added sugars a day with the majority of it coming from sweetened beverages. 
Source:  Nutrition & You
In fact, if you consume a can or a 20-ounce bottle of a sweetened beverage daily, you will likely be gulping over three times the amount the WHO is proposing daily:

Source:  Nutrition and You

If you consume more added sugars in you diet than you would prefer, here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of added sugars daily:

  1. Drink water rather than soda or sweetened beverages throughout the day.  You will also save a ton of money annually if you switch to tap water, which is free, rather than buying a sweetened beverage.
  2. Mix equal amounts of sweetened cereal with an unsweetened variety for a breakfast cereal with half the added sugars.
  3. Buy sweets such as candy and cookies in individual serving sizes rather than large packages.  The less you buy, the less you will eat.
  4. Sweeten nonfat plain yogurt with naturally sweet berries, pineapples, or mangoes rather than adding sugar.

Be well, Joan

                                              Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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