Natural Sugars and Added Sugars: How Much Sugar Are You Consuming?
Understanding the difference between natural and added sugars is critical in a world where sugar hides in our food like a chameleon. But it can be difficult to know how to do this.
To make things easier, we've written a guide that demystifies the sweet confusion surrounding your diet. Keep reading if you want to find out more.
Imagine consuming 17 teaspoons of sugar in one sitting - the equivalent of guzzling down a single 20-ounce soda. Sounds shocking, doesn't it?
Yet, this is the amount of added and natural sugars that the average person consumes on a daily basis, nearly double the advised limit.
How to Gauge Your Sugar Consumption
Knowing how much sugar you consume every day can feel like a tricky math problem. But, you don't have to be a genius to figure it out. Here are some simple ways to keep track of your daily sugar intake.
First, read food labels carefully. Look for the line that says "total sugars" and "added sugars."
Total sugars include both natural sugars, like those in fruits and milk, and added sugars, which are put into food and drinks during processing or preparation.
Experts recommend that added sugars should not make up more than half of your daily sugar intake.
You might be surprised by some sources of added sugars. They're often found in foods that don't even taste sweet, like bread, salad dressing, and even some "healthy" snacks.
So, make sure to read those labels even on items you wouldn't expect to contain sugar.
Another tool that can help is a health wearable, like a fitness tracker or smartwatch. Many health wearables now include nutrition-tracking features.
You can log what you eat throughout the day, and the wearable will calculate your sugar consumption for you. Just remember to include everything you consume, not just meals, but also snacks and drinks.
One final tip: learn the many names for added sugars. They're not always labeled as "sugar."
Words like "high-fructose corn syrup," "dextrose," "fructose," and "maltose" all mean added sugars. By recognizing these names, you can better identify hidden sugars in your food.
Sugar Consumption Statistics
Our dietary sugar intake doesn't just affect our waistlines, it impacts our overall health too. High sugar consumption has been linked to various health issues.
This includes heart disease, obesity, and even certain types of cancer. Despite these health effects of sugar, less than half of all Americans correctly identify added sugars on food labels.
Teens and young adults consume more sugar than any other age group, with soda being the biggest source of added sugars in their diet. Sugary drinks alone contribute to nearly half of the added sugars consumed in the U.S.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain because it provides calories without any beneficial nutrients.
Over time, this can result in obesity, which increases the risk for serious health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Eating excess sugar also impacts our teeth. It's the main food source for harmful bacteria in the mouth, leading to tooth decay and cavities.
Also, keep in mind that sugar affects your mood. It does this by creating a reward feedback loop that promotes cravings for more sugar - making it hard to break the cycle.
Forming a healthy habit is crucial for managing sugar intake. Start by swapping out sugary snacks with fruits and reducing the amount of sugar in your daily coffee or tea.
The Recommended Daily Sugar Intake
Healthcare experts suggest that women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (or about 25 grams) of added sugars per day, while men should limit their intake to 9 teaspoons (or about 36 grams).
Unfortunately, the average American far exceeds these recommendations. Keep in mind these figures refer to "added sugars," not the sugars naturally found in fruits and dairy products.
Understanding the recommended daily sugar intake is essential for maintaining a balanced diet and overall good health.
Foods You Should Avoid
When it comes to limiting your sugar intake, there are a few key foods and beverages to avoid.
Soda and energy drinks are notorious sugar bombs. A single can often contain more than your recommended daily intake. Fruit juices, though they might seem healthier, can also be packed with sugar.
Processed snacks like cookies, candy bars, and pastries are high in added sugars. Also, watch out for breakfast cereals and flavored yogurts, which can contain surprisingly high sugar levels.
Beware of hidden sugars in seemingly healthy foods like granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit. Even condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce often contain added sugars.
Understand that the key to a healthy diet isn't necessarily total elimination, but moderation. Check food labels, watch your portions, and opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible to limit your sugar intake.
What to Know About Natural Sugars
Many people don't recognize how many natural sugars they consume on a daily basis.
By consuming too much sugar, you will put yourself at risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes. Sugar will also affect your mood. The more that you consume, the more cravings you will have.
The good news is that there are many great-tasting foods that are low in sugar. It is also easier than you might think to develop healthy eating habits.
Are you ready to improve your health? If so, SupplementRelief.com can help you.
Not only do we publish educational content related to healthy living. We also sell professional-grade supplements. Don't hesitate to visit our Online Shop to get started today!
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
We encourage you to take advantage of these FREE Wellness Resources on our website.
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The information, knowledge, and experience shared on this website is the opinion of SupplementRelief.com. This site and its content is intended to enhance your knowledge base as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE DECISIONS in partnership with your qualified health professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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