How much sugar are you really eating?


We all have heard several times that sugar is bad for your health. Ever wondered, how and why is sugar bad for you? Sugar is simple carbohydrates which means it does not give you anything more than calories. But sugar is present naturally in the form of fructose in fruits, lactose in milk. Is that sugar bad?? Should we stop drinking milk and eating fruits?? No friends. That is natural sugar. Here we are talking about the artificial / added sugars. How much of the added sugar should you eat???

American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 6 teaspoons (24g) for women and 9 teaspoons (36g) for men. In today’s world, sugar is added in almost everything that we eat but the food companies mention them under different names. So, the smart way of reducing your intake would be to start reading nutrition labels and check the ingredient list. If anything reads more than 6-8 grams of sugar, try to stay away from it. Again, I am talking about the added sugars.

Check for the following words in the ingredient list:

Xylitol Sucrase Dextrin
Mannitol Agave Nectar Molasses
Sorbitol Cane juice crystals Saccharose
Corn Syrup Evaporated cane juice Sorghum
High fructose corn syrup Dextrose Sorghum syrup
Xylose Rice Syrup Cane sugar

I know what you are thinking. How would I remember so many names? Here’s the trick that can help you to some extent. Any word ending in -ose or -ol is usually a sugar. Secondly, check if the ingredient list has the word syrup after anything, then its sugar. When you are reading the ingredient list and if the sugar is mentioned within first 5 ingredients then its probably not good for you. Why?? Because food companies are supposed to list the ingredients in the order of the portion size that is used while making the product meaning the first ingredient on the list is the majority of what the food is made of and so on.

While I was researching myself for this article, I started focusing on my own sugar consumption. I was shocked!! I was shocked to see how much sugar I was eating without even noticing. It was difficult for me too to cut back on sugar as most of the things we eat have added sugars in them and therefore, one can easily overdo their daily intake. One example of this was the flavored yogurt. One cup of 6-8 oz of a flavored yogurt can contain as high as 26g of sugar. So, having that one cup itself, women have exhausted their reserve of 24g of sugar daily. Men, yes you do have the advantage but only 10g left which means 2.5 teaspoons. Think about it!!!

Many studies have linked high sugar consumption to obesity, heart disease, depression, impulsive behavior and many more. As it has been rightly said in the ancient science, what you eat can make you healthy and it can also make you sick. Remember, you should know what you are putting into your body. Educating yourself is the best way to make sure you know what you are eating.

Lastly, I would like to share this video of the American fitness and nutrition expert Jack Lalanne who was also called the ”godfather of fitness” and the “first fitness superhero”. Click here to see an old video by him on sugar.

Feel free to post any questions / comments you have related to this article. Hope this article helps you get your daily sugar intake (added sugars) in check!!

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4 Responses to “How much sugar are you really eating?”

  1. Alpa says:

    Nice article Sweta.

  2. Janki says:

    Thanks Sweta!! Really informative, I’ll be on the lookout for the added sugars for sure :)

    • Sweta Shah says:

      Yes Janki. Its very tricky to control added sugar intake unless one is aware about it!! I am glad the article is helpful!!

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