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February 2021

How Much Added Sugar Should We Be Consuming?

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Our organization is all about connecting with you and, together, we keep current in the food and consumer science industry. Sugar intake has been a trending topic for some time. When shopping for groceries and reading nutrition facts labels, it seems like all food products have at least a small amount of sugar in them. Which raises the question, how much added sugar should we be consuming on a daily basis? What’s a healthy amount?

How Do I Know How Much Added Sugar Is a Healthy Amount?

Thankfully, we don’t have to guess. We can rely on research findings and our trusty 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans! These standards are developed by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The recommendation may come to you as a surprise as you compare it to your daily dietary habits.

In general, we could all be a bit more mindful of our sugar intake. Sugar consumption and obesity have been linked in prior research findings. In turn, obesity is connected to health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Gettin’ Nerdy – Let’s See Some Facts

Here at FCS Professionals, we can get a little nerdy because we love our field! So, here’s a fun fact for you: according to the American Heart Association, the average American adult consumes around 77 grams of added sugar per day. How does that compare to the recommended amount? That’s more than three times what the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends.

The 2020-2025 guidelines state that no more than 10 percent of our calories should come from added sugar. To put it into practice, that means limited your added sugar intake to 200 kcals on a 2,000 calorie diet. For your convenience, we have calculated that that is equivalent to 13 teaspoons or 53 grams, or roughly the amount in a can of regular cola plus a bowl of sugary cereal.

Now, you may be asking WHAT IS ADDED SUGAR?

By definition, according to the FDA, added sugar is ANY sugar added during the processing of food. Thankfully, the recently revised nutrition facts label allows a space specifically for added sugars. You can also find added sugar in the ingredients list on a food product. If the ingredient ends in “-ose” then you can be sure it is a type of sugar. The following are types of added sugars you may commonly see: honey, granulated sugar, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, natural cane sugar, dextrose, sucrose, and concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.

But, on the other hand, there are natural sugars such as the sugar in fruit and milk sugar (lactose). However, milk typically contains added sugar when flavorings are introduced, like chocolate or strawberry milk.