Everyone’s dream is to maintain a healthy weight and good health, and if that’s your goal as well, then it’s a good idea to know how much sugar you are consuming a day. Actually if you want to lose some weight, then this is one of the primary things you need to do. That is easier said than done though.
To start cutting down on sugar, a great place to start is by cutting the amounts of sweets you eat, beginning to drink your tea or even your coffee without it, but you need to be more careful since that sweet, sweet sugar is found in copious amounts in all kinds of foods.
For some of the foods and beverages it’s found in is pretty obvious, such as the infamous fizzy drinks and cakes are stock piled in sugar. Some foods are less so, considering the savory sauces in stores and ready made meals often contain a shocking amount of sugar.
So, to make sure that your sugar intake doesn’t surpass the recommended amount , you need to keep track of a couple things. The first thing you need to do is to roughly work out how much you should be eating, and the second thing is to start analyzing labels carefully to ensure that sugar isn’t sneaking It’s way into your diet in unsuspecting ways.
How much added sugar should people consume per day ?
The unfortunate answer is that the recommended amount of sugar intake is different for different people. You alone (or with a nutritionist) need to work out how it relates to the overall amount of calories that you consume each and every day.
It is accepted that about 5% or less of our total calorie intake should come from added or ‘free’ sugar. So for example, for an average woman requiring 2,000 calories, this would equate to 25g of added sugar. An average man that consumes 2500 calories a day the amount of added sugar per day should be about 31g.
What is added sugar?
Added sugars are those sugars that are not naturally found in foods, but are added during processing of the food – such as sucrose or dextrose, table sugar, sugars found in syrups and honey and and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
What are natural sugars ?
Natural sugars are those sugars that are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and milk. For example, fruit doesn’t count as added sugar when it’s in its whole from, but fruit syrup would count.
For some food products this can get confusing. Take yoghurt for example. It is the one product in which milk sugars but also often added sugars are contained. As a rough guide, the first 5g of sugars in 100g of yogurt is generally milk sugars; beyond that, it’s likely to be added sugars.
So, when checking an ingredient list, it is worth knowing that these are listed in order of the quantity that is present. Now, if sugar, or something like fructose, dextrose and /or glucose, is in the top three ingredients listed, it’s generally safe to assume that it contains a lot of sugar in it.
Now when applying this to milk, standard whole milk contains around 5 grams of sugar per 100 ml, but chocolate milk on the other hand has around 9 – 10 grams per 100 ml, and sugar comes usually in second place in the ingredient list. That is an indication that there is a significant amount of free sugar contained in it.
Is there any difference between white sugar, brown sugar, honey and syrups?
So, it’s common sense that sugar and every type of source of sugar should be consumed in moderation. While alternative sugar sources might also contain some other nutrients, the sugar still counts towards your added sugar intake count just the same.
What are the common foods that have a secretly high sugar amounts ?
The answer to this question is simple, unfortunately, sugar is present in everything.
Anything which has been processed may have added sugar unless it’s directly stated that it’s sugar free! Biscuits, some breads, beans, cereal, ready meals – the list goes on.
Beverages are the leading category source of added sugars (47% of all added sugars are in beverages):
soft drinks – 25% of all added sugar go to soft drinks
fruit drinks take 11%
sport/energy drinks take 3%
coffee/tea take 7%
So, what should people look out for when checking out a label on a product to tell if that product is high in sugar?
Generally speaking, anything with more than 20 grams of sugar per 100 grams of product is a food high in sugar .
That is basically the only important thing and most reliable way to check if the product is high in sugar, because it’s easily to be misled by serving sizes and other label tricks. Even the blaring terms labeled on the front of the packet is not a reliable or foolproof guide either because it isn’t at all legally binding and the standards across suppliers and products differ greatly.
As we near the end we realize that this is no easy feat even for the best of us, so here’s a simple version on how much added sugar a day you should consume. Basically work out how much exactly 5% of your daily calories is and start checking out those food labels a bit more closely, including a detailed scan of the ingredients list on there. Important note: stop putting sugar in your coffee and/or tea, you’ll thank us later.