How much is too much sugar?

Have you ever wondered “how much sugar is too much”? Even for dietitians, there have been no set guidelines. We would say generally “avoid foods with excess sugar.” Well the American Heart Association was the first to step up to the plate and make a recommendation.

Currently Americans are averaging 22 teaspoons of sugar/day. That is equivalent to 2 cans of soda and a candy bar. That would be similar to eating nearly half a cup of straight sugar. But the worst of it is that teens are consuming about 34 teaspoons of sugar/day which is nearly ¾ cup of straight sugar.

The new daily recommendations are:
• <6 teaspoons for women
• <9 teaspoons for men

Here are some comparisons:
• Regular fruit flavored yogurt has 6 teaspoons of sugar
• A 12 oz soda contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar
• Sugary cereals have about 3-4 teaspoons of sugar

One thing to consider: the recommendations do not apply to natural sugars in fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Obviously these recommendations don’t necessarily apply to everyone’s individual diet plan and you should always consult a registered dietitian for any major diet transitions or changes, but this certainly sheds some light on something we’re all guilty of.

Avoiding sugar for dessert is by far one of the hardest things to do but you can easily switch out the sugar for a sugar-substitute like Splenda or rely on natural fruits to sweeten your dish!

What is one food you were surprised at the amount of sugar in?

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