The American Heart Association recommends men consume no more than 9 teaspoons a day for a total of about 150 calories. Woman are recommended to use no more than 6 teaspoons per day which is about 100 calories. Converted to grams that is about 24 grams for women and 36 grams for men. That seems doable until you actually add up your daily consumption of both known and hidden sugars.
One Teaspoon of Sugar = 4 grams
Women should limit intake to about 6 teaspoons a day Men should limit intake to about 9 teaspoons a day
Daily sugar limits are for “added” sugars not natural sugars. Natural sugars are in fresh fruits and vegetables and are not the real problem when you consume them in their natural state.
The real troubles come to us in almost all processed foods, packaged goods, drinks, and most restaurant foods, especially chain restaurants. The damage it does is slow and can go unnoticed for years.
Sugars are added to processed foods with confusing names. Corn syrup, corn sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, agave, cane sugar, brown sugar, fruit juice concentrate, cane juice, palm sugar, date sugar, malt syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, maple syrup, turbinado, and more. It’s all sugar and your body processes it in the same way.
In reality of those 6-9 teaspoons of sugar a day are not much considering the available sources. For some people that is barely enough to handle morning coffee. Add to that a bowl of sugared cereal and count on about 4 more teaspoons.
If you are lucky enough to find bread that is low sugar it will be under 5 grams a slice and putting jam on that at about 12 grams a tablespoon just about wraps up the day's allotment.
Limiting sugar intake is tricky unless you are cooking your own meals. The McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Crispy Bacon Sandwich has 16 grams of sugar and if you put ketchup at 4 grams per tablespoon onto those fries that are sugared before cooking, you have had your fill of sugar for the day. You could just have the 32 ounce Coke and find yourself at 65 grams.
Just as a Reality Check, Consider:
Subway’s Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki 6” Sandwich at 16 grams of sugar Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup at 10 grams of sugar per tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 1 gram of sugar per teaspoon Famous Dave’s sweet pickle chips 8 grams of sugar per ounce Sweet Chili Sauce at 7 grams of sugar a tablespoon Prego Spaghetti Sauce at 20 grams of sugar per cup
Getting out of the clutches of sugar takes about three weeks and it is not easy to do. When you start reintroducing it, it does not take long to take up residency as your favorite addiction. It is more addictive than cocaine. Dr. Mark Harmon says, “use it like you would a recreational drug.”