The craving for sweets is in our genes – that’s fine in small quantities. But on average people in the industrialized world, consume about four times the recommended amount of sugar per day. But how much sugar a day is too much? High sugar consumption is not only bad for our weight it is also one of the main contributors to non-communicable diseases.
How much sugar a day is too much?
The inclusion of sugar in diet and food items can be considered one of the major drawbacks of today’s world. Processed food is very high in hidden sugars. This hidden sugar adds no benefit to your metabolism it only provides calories with no added nutrients. Moreover, consumption of sugar in excess amounts is often linked to gain of weight and the onset of various disorders like diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
Types of Sugar
Now, it is extremely important to know the difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables. Fructose, the sugar which is naturally present in fruits and vegetables is not at all that harmful to the body.
Added sugars are those which are added to the food items artificially, to enhance and/or cover up taste and to stretch expensive food to be more in volume and weight. The very common sugars that are added to foods are regular table sugar as well as all other sugars.
- Glucose: fruits, roots, potatoes, as well as industrially produced as glucose.
- Fructose: natural sugar fruits
- Galactose: contained in milk
- Isoglucose: corn syrup, is made from corn. It is mixed with isoglucose drinks and fruit preserves.
- Sucrose: table sugar, is made from sugar cane or sugar beet.
- Refined sugar: pure white table sugar consisting of 99% sucrose.
- Lactose: sugar in milk and dairy products.
- Maltose: malt sugar, common in beer.
- Raw sugar: unrefined sugar production, has a slightly higher percentage of vitamins.
If you want to keep your physique and mind in the best of health, then it is highly recommended to avoid food items that contain added sugars.
According to a study conducted in 2008 in the States, people are consuming over 60 pounds of additive sugar per year and which doesn’t even include fruit juices. The average intake came out to be around 76.6 grams per day. This basically equals 19 teaspoons or around 300 calories. Moreover, the current levels of consumption of added sugar are way too high and are actually the culprit behind making every second person overweight and sick.
In a more specific sense, consumption of excess sugar renders one vulnerable to medical conditions like obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, cancers, tooth decays, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and even more.
So how much sugar a day is too much?
Unfortunately, there is no specific answer to the very question of how much levels are safe for consumption. The American Heart Association (AHA) has set the following parameters for both the sexes:
- Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
- Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
Keep in mind, however, that sugar consumption will add up over the course of a day. It starts with the hidden sugars in your breakfast, ie. cereals, fruit yogurt, toast, sweet drinks, cakes, … to sugars in spicy foods in ketchup, ready-made meals…
But it is utterly crucial for one and all that there is no need for consuming added sugars in the first place when healthier and natural options are available.
How to reduce sugar consumption?
If you want to reduce or even avoid added sugar, you really need to look as closely as possible and make sure you read the label about nutritional information on processed foods and snacks. Give up largely on sugary drinks. If you snack or eat dessert, then do it consciously and with pleasure.
When you cook, whether it be on a stovetop or in a slow cooker avoid processed ingredients that contain hidden sugars. Use fresh produce where possible. Don’t overeat! Know how many calories you need and how much sugar a day is too much for you. Be active, walk the stair, and exercise to burn off the excess “fuel”. Otherwise, your body stores the excess in fat.
The many sugars that we consume today have only been industrially produced for the last couple of hundred years. For thousands of years, people had only natural food that contained sugar only in its natural form and quantity. Adding sugar to food is in most cases unnecessary and rather unhealthy.