A new World Health Organization guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of sugar to less than 10 percent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 percent – or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day – would provide additional health benefits.
Dropping candy, donuts, soda and baked goods, which are usually the major sources of added sugars, from your diet is not nearly enough. They include syrups put in foods during preparation or processing. You may be surprised that many of your favorite breakfasts and snacks have too much of the sweetener.
You can avoid sneaky sources of the sweet stuff by paying close attention to the ingredient label. The new versions are more informative. Consumers will now know how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers, and what percentage of the recommended daily maximum that represents. “Includes X g Added Sugars” is added directly beneath the listing for “Total Sugars.”
There are four calories in one gram, so if a product has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 60 calories just from the sugar alone, not counting the other ingredients, according to the American Heart Association.
If knowing the number of teaspoons of sugar gives you a better idea of how much of the bad stuff is added, divide sugars grams displayed on the label by 4. There are 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon. The body can handle, as in metabolize, at least six teaspoons of added sugar per day.
The problem is that most people consume over three times what they should be because of snacks that are usually deemed “healthy.”