Americans eat a ridiculous amount of sugar: 22-28 teaspoons per day on average. That’s clearly too much, as it means that 350-440 of our precious daily calories are being used up by sweeteners, which provide no nutrients and increase our risk of disease.
So how much sweetener should you be eating? [Note: I’m not going to say the obvious – none – because that would be both annoying and unrealistic.]
No more than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) if you’re a woman, and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) if you’re a man. Limiting sugar to this level or below may help you lose weight, keep your metabolism working properly, and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
What does this look like in practice?
- Don’t drink your calories. Avoid soda, fruit & coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, juice, sweetened tea, etc.
- Continue to eat fruit. Whole fruit (but not fruit juice) is healthy because of it’s fiber, water, and nutrient content.
- Eat sweet treats in small portions. A piece of cake or muffin could easily push you over 10 teaspoons of sugar, so make sure baked goods and other sweet treats are small and eaten infrequently.
- Read Nutrition Facts Labels. If a food doesn’t contain milk or fruit (which will show up under the “Sugar” part of the label even though they are naturally occurring), then the “Sugars” should read close to zero. 1 gram of sugar = 4 calories, and 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.