Added sugar is different to the natural sugar found in foods such as fruit.
But how much added sugar should we be having per day?
Well, the American Heart Association now recommends men to have no more than 36g of added sugar and women no more than 25g of added sugar per day.
For those who track calories try to stick to 5-10% of your calories coming from added sugar per day – ideally the lower end of that.
That’s all well and good but what does that look like in relation to the food we eat?
See the info-graph I made below to give you an idea….
For people who check nutrition labels and try to keep an eye on their sugar or those who track their food and worry about their sugar intake, you must keep in mind that labels do not differentiate between natural sugar and added sugar!!
So, yes you might have 60g sugar and panic, even though you’ve had mostly whole foods and some fruit – so in reality that sugar is gonna be from a natural source.
For example, the fructose in fruit is encased in fibre which hugely affects its metabolism in our bodies.
The fibre helps to slow down the absorption and so it doesn’t get fast, direct access to the liver like it does when it is ‘free’, for example in syrups and some juices.
So don’t worry too much about the sugar from a few pieces of fruit a day…
What you should be focusing on is the foods that have added sugar that you might not even realise.. Household spaghetti sauce, flavoured yoghurts etc.,
Of course you have the obvious examples such as coca cola and chocolate and whatever else, and that’s where you should start by reducing these items in your diet.
So, how can you make a simple change?
If you are someone who has a can of coke or fizzy drink a day, then switching to coke zero or similar, means you would be cutting out 35g added sugar a day.
35 x 7 = 245g added sugar a week.
245g x 4 = 980 kcals a week.
That’s almost 1,000 kcals you could be avoiding a week just by switching, not even cutting out, fizzy drinks.
Of course, there’s the argument of artificial sweeteners and whether they are better or worse than sugar, however I have already done an article on diet soft drinks and artificial sweeteners, which you can find on the BTN Blog if you haven’t read it yet, you can catch it here.
I go into this topic in more depth in a blog post that will be on the BTN website soon!
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