The amount of daily sugar intake in the United States is astonishing to say the least. As obesity among Americans tends to rise at a rapid rate, it should not be surprising to see how the average daily intake of "extra" sugar (not natural sugar such as the sugar in fruits.)
The type of sugar in foods and beverages, whose primary ingredient is sugar, is consumed by an unbelievable amount of people. Not to mention the high carbohydrate foods, those are loaded with sugar. The average daily amount of sugar intake according to the American Heart Association (AHA) for an adult is 22 teaspoons a day and for teenagers the average daily intake is 34 teaspoons!
Facts about Sugars
The primary use of sugar is to give a person energy. Other than that, sugar is useless to the human body and in fact can cause numerous health problems.
You should avoid sugary snakes such as cakes, pies and cookies at the top of the list for "bad carbs."
The best way to know how much sugar is in a product is to look at the label. Every food product is required by the FDA to list the ingredients and the amount of each ingredient as well as the serving size. If a serving size is ½ a cup and the sugar content on the label is 88 grams, then for each ½ cup of that snack you are consuming 88 grams of sugar!
When reading the nutritional food label on products, there is one thing you have to be careful about and that is the way sugar can be "hidden" by the use of another name that also means sugar. Names to watch for including raw sugar, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup or syrup, corn sweetener or corn syrup, molasses, honey, and raw or brown sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients with "-ose" such as dextrose, lactose, lactose, glucose, fructose, and maltose.
Too much sugar can cause a person several health problems. Let us look at a few that top the list.
- Tooth decay (especially in children and teens)
- Heart disease
- Certain types of Cancer
It is never too late to change your sugar intake amount and start consuming less sugar and eating healthy foods. Your body will thank you!
Recommendations of Daily Sugar Intake
Experts recommend you limit the amount of sugar you add to your food. For example, if you are having grapefruit for breakfast instead of putting three a lot of sugar on the grapefruit cut back to one teaspoon. The AHA recommends you follow these guidelines for all types of added sugar, not just one type such as corn syrup.
The recommended daily amount of added sugar (such as the type you would put in your morning coffee) for women is 6 teaspoons or no more than 100 calories a day. The recommended daily amount of added sugar for men is 9 teaspoons or no more than 150 calories a day.
Cutting back your daily intake of sugar can be hard seeing how most people do not pay much attention to the sugar they are consuming through their food or adding to food and beverages.
Tips for Limiting Daily Sugar Intake
- Drink lots of water - the recommended daily amount is 64 fluid ounces. Avoid energy drinks, soda, vitamin water, flavored water with sugar, and coffee.
- Reduce or eliminate foods high in sugar such as cakes, pies, cookies, pastries of any kind, candy, and ice cream.
- Replace these items with raw vegetables and dip, fresh fruits, and sugar free desserts.
- Use spices to add flavor to your food instead of sugar.
- Add fresh fruit to your cereal instead of adding sugar.
- Turn to unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar when prepare you recipes.
- Try artificial sweeteners. The FDA has said that artificial sweeteners are safe, such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation.
- Take the sugar off the table. Out of sight out of mind!
Ways to Count Your Daily Sugar Intake
- Look at the nutrition labels on all the food you buy
- Before you go out to eat, go to the restaurant's website and look at their menu, many restaurants include the nutritional facts. If the restaurant does not, you can look them up online before you leave.
- When you eat something, write down the amount of sugar so you can keep track of how much you are consuming each day. Try to keep track of it throughout the day so you do not go over your recommended amount.