Tap to Read ➤

Recommended Daily Sugar Intake

Puja Lalwani Oct 6, 2018
You are probably not aware of the amount of sugar you have been consuming vs. the recommended daily sugar intake that has been suggested for different groups of people. Find out why and how you should control the amount of sugar you consume, so that you can lead a healthy lifestyle.
Here's some food for thought. Apart from sweetening your taste buds and satisfying your sweet tooth, sugar has no health benefits to offer you. Sugar is an unnatural substance that is produced as a result of an industrial process called refining (of sugar cane).
While sugar cane itself has a lot to offer, in the refining process you lose out on all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients. So you are only consuming empty calories.
Moreover, your body gets its necessary amount of daily sugar only by consuming normal food like fruits, vegetables, bread, etc. There is no room for added sugar. However, because so many of us love sugar and simply need it, here's how much one should be consuming on a daily basis.

Recommended Daily Intake of Sugar for Adults and Children

As per the latest details from the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended sugar intake that is healthy for the body on a daily basis has been established for men, women and children. These are as follows:
  • Men: 36 grams or 9 teaspoons
  • Women: 20 grams or 5 teaspoons
  • Children: 12 grams or 3 teaspoons
The sugar intake for diabetics will differ based on their type of diabetes, and whether they are hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic. It is wiser to consult a doctor to understand your individual requirements for sugar before following the mentioned information.
When the recommended intake of sugar is spoken of, it refers not to simple sugars that we take in from sodas and desserts, but sugars from complex carbohydrates and fruit. You are not being asked to eliminate sugar completely from your diet, but to compensate for the excess sugar eaten, in the form of exercise.
To calculate your daily sugar intake is not a simple task, but you can definitely control it, and by getting the right amount of exercise, you can regulate the amount of sugar that is being ingested and digested by your body.
You are not new to the evils of sugar. You know that consuming excess sugar can lead to obesity, heart conditions, cavities in teeth, bone degeneration and, of course diabetes. Yet, you probably somehow assume that these effects are not applicable to you.
Do keep in mind that sugar in the form of your regular soda and other sweet snacks is an absolutely unnecessary part of your diet. It is a food additive that is used solely for the purpose of enhancing its flavor.
While eating food without sugar is something that you may not even be able to fathom, there are ways in which you can slowly reduce the amount you consume.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Drastic reduction in the sugar intake, or complete elimination is not even recommended; since your body is used to high levels of sugar, your blood sugar levels may drop drastically leading to several other health conditions such as lightheadedness, weakness, nausea, etc.
Again, an excess can also cause fatigue and hyperglycemia. Take a look at how you can slowly and steadily cut down on the amount of sugar you consume daily, and resort to an overall healthy diet.
▪ Firstly, remember that you are not meant to avoid natural sugars in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. These make up the natural sugars that are required for the sustenance of the body.
▪ Avoid processed food products such as fruit flavored yogurt, granola bars, peanut butter, salad dressings such as mayonnaise and honey-ranch, baked beans, sugar-coated cereal, sodas, candies, canned fruit, processed fruit juices, etc. The list is endless.
Even cough syrups and chewing gums should be avoided. Some of these food items contain large amounts of sugar among the various ingredients that contribute to their delicious taste. A surprising revelation is that even one slice of whole wheat bread has about 5 grams of added sugar.
That means if a woman eats a slice of whole-wheat bread, she has accomplished 1/4 of her recommended daily sugar intake.
▪ Check food labels before you purchase different products because in some cases sugar is not labeled simply as sugar, but by several other names.
Some of these names include molasses, sucrose, xylitol, hydrogenated starch, galactose, honey, fruit juice concentrate, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, inverted sugar maltose, turbinado sugar, glucose, maple syrup, polyols, sorghum, dextrose and dextrin.
▪ Apart from avoiding processed food, keep a watch on the amount of sugar you add into the food you eat. 1 teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee is alright. But if you have several cups of coffee in a day, you are just multiplying the calories you are consuming.
Try to opt for natural sugar substitutes in limited amounts to make up for the flavors of sugar. Avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs. The damage they can cause is worse than refined sugar.
▪ Avoid long gaps in meals, or skipping them altogether. The huge gaps further enhance sugar cravings and make you reach out for all those food items that are so high in sugar.
▪ It is alright to give in to your sugar cravings once in a while, but do not encourage them as you know how much damage they can cause. Try a piece of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, or a fruit instead of a chocolate bar.
▪ Every time you feel the need to consume sugar, divert your mind. Don't allow yourself to reach for the cookie jar or the granola bar, or the frozen yogurt (that you may consider healthy). You have been given the target, so stick to it. Go for a walk, it also gives you the necessary exercise to burn off those extra sugars.
As has been mentioned several times earlier, along with following the recommended daily sugar intake, you also ought to get a good dose of exercise to keep it regulated and under control. Now that you know what sugar can do to your body, slowly wean your body off the sugar habit, and lead a healthy life.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and does not intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.