How much should you have?
Someone asked me the other day if my kids ever get to eat candy, cake, and ice cream. Well, yes, they do. They eat whatever they want, just not in our house. In our house we have limited sugar because we know what it can do to your health. Think obesity and diabetes! Believe it or not, overconsumption of sugar is responsible for upwards of 40% of all U.S. healthcare expenditures. So, we limit added sugar in our home to somewhere between 0 and 12 grams of added sugar.
What does 12 grams of added sugar look like? A full-fat plain yogurt with a little stevia or dab of honey, maybe a nut butter and carrots. Yup, that’s 12 grams. Now, when the kids are out of the house at a birthday party, they can go crazy on all the sugary carbs they want. However, they learned early that if they consumed too much sugar at a birthday party, the effects were terrible. They all experienced the freedom of chugging down pizza and cake at a birthday party, only to be followed by a quick trip to the bathroom to puke. That’s really all it took and they got it! Now they self-monitor…mostly.
How much added sugar is right for you and your family? I suggest taking the following into consideration before you decide:
- The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, or about 88 grams. All of it is metabolized into fat.
- People who consume 21% or more of their daily calories from sugar are two times as likely to have heart disease compared to those who consume 7% or less of their daily calories from added sugar.
- The U.S. FDA does not establish an upper limit on daily sugar consumption. As a matter of fact, food packaging doesn’t even list added sugar, however it soon will, thanks to a new labeling law.
- The World Health Organization recommends people limit added sugar to 5% of daily calories. That’s an average of six teaspoons or 24 grams per day.
- Americans are on top of the list of sugar consumption with an average of 126.4 grams consumed per day. The next highest is Germany at 102.9 grams per day. Residents of countries like China, Israel, India, and Ukraine consume an average of 20 grams of sugar per day. Quite a difference!
Here are my recommendations for limiting added sugar:
- Stop eating processed foods! Processed foods have large amounts of added sugar, but you won’t know it until the label law goes into effect. Then you will see added sugar as another line item. It will be shocking if you actually read it.
- No soft drinks! Need I say more?
- Don’t bake or cook with added sugars. Use Stevia.
- Eat some fruit for something sweet if you need it.
Simple right? No. Changing habits or behavior is hard, and it takes time and effort. But it can be done, and you’ll feel better (and look better) if you reduce or eliminate added sugar. Let me know your thoughts on sugar consumption. Do you think you can adopt one or more of my suggestions?