How Much Sugar Should We Really Be Having?
Sugar is a much debated, often demonised component of our diets. How much should we really be consuming each day? Is zero sugar the way to go, or is going cold-turkey a bad idea?
World Health Organisation’s guidelines recommend that for both adults and children, sugar should not take up more than 10% of your daily caloric intake. For the average adult’s daily recommended intake of 2000 calories, this means no more than 200 cals should come from sugar, which is about 12 teaspoons max (about 50 grams).
Many people make the mistake of including all sugars, including those contained naturally in fruits. Not all sugar is the same. Glucose is the simplest sugar – found in all carbohydrates. Fructose is another simple sugar, found in fruits and honey. These are both fine, as consuming them naturally comes with a pile of nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, all encased in fiber. Your body can slow down the absorption of the fructose as it’s low GI (see Ebony’s post for more info). WHO also includes lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk, as a safe inclusion.
Processed sugars are the real culprits of over-consumption, and much of the time they are consumed as hidden additives without being conscious of them. It’s no suprise that fizzy drinks and chocolate are packed with added sugar, but here are some culprits that might be a little more unexpected.
Salad dressing – sweet french dressings can have up to 7g per serve. Beware of “low fat” foods which often supplement fat for sugar to maintain taste.
Soups and pasta sauces – most pasta sauces have between 6-12g per serve (the same as a slice of cake!)
Breakfast bars – on average, muesli and breakfast bars have about 7g of sugar. If they’re topped with yogurt, choc chips or contained dried fruit, it will probably be upwards of 10g.
Yogurt – almost all fruit yogurts have added sugar. One Chobani low-fat yogurt pouch has 13.8g!
White bread – contains about a 1.5 grams per slice.
Also, if you really love your sugar in your coffee and are trying to cut back, try adding Stevia instead (0 calorie sugar alternative) and see if you notice the difference 🙂