How Many Grams of Sugar Per Day?

You are probably not aware of the recommended daily sugar intake that has been suggested for different groups of people. How much sugar should you eat per day?

There are two forms of sugar: natural and added sugar. Natural sugars are derived from fruits, vegetables and other plants such as sugar cane. The most common natural forms of sugar include fructose, glucose and sucrose. Once sugars are extracted from natural food sources, they can no longer be labeled natural.

Added sources of sugar are ubiquitous and hard to avoid. Common sources include regular soft drinks, juices, refined sugars (powdered sugar), candies and cakes, pies and other baked goods. Many processed dairy products also contain added sugars. Yogurt, sweetened milk and ice cream all contain added sources of sugar.

Like all things, excess causes health problems. Increased consumption of added sugars is linked to a variety of health problems ranging from dental decay to obesity and diabetes. Preferential consumption of added sugar type foods can result in inadequate intake of essential dietary nutrients.

How Many Grams of Sugar Per Day?

Daily Sugar Intake from American Heart Association:

Group

Calorie of added sugar

Sugar intake(g)

Sugar intake(teaspoon)

Women

≤ 100

24

6

Men

≤ 150

36

9

Preschoolers

 

16

4

Children ages 4-8

 

12

3

Teenagers

 

20-32

5-8

World Health Organization Daily Sugar Intake Recommendation

For an average 2000-calorie diet, the World Health Organization recommends that a maximum of 10% of the total calories come from added sugar. This equates to less than 50 grams of added sugar per day.

Daily Sugar Intake for Diabetics

  • Monitoring sugar intake is a critical dietary strategy for managing diabetes. Working closely with a physician and dietician can ensure the appropriate dietary plan is in place.
  • Reducing daily intake of sugar can improve diabetes control. The amount of sugar eaten daily can vary based on activity level and overall health. Be sure your physician is aware of any specific dietary modifications. Women may reduce the daily sugar intake to 17 g per day and men can aim for 25 g per day. Your physician can help you develop a target range for sugar intake.
  • A glucometer is a portable device that measures blood glucose levels. These can be found at any drug store and you should become skilled at using it. Record daily blood glucose readings and learn what foods you can eat without causing major spikes in the glucose readings. Keep your glucose in a safe range as determined by your physician.
  • Maintaining an active lifestyle will help improve glucose control for both diabetic and non-diabetic persons. Daily activity, even if just walking for 30 minutes, is a beneficial strategy for managing body weight and diabetes. Healthy eating choices will help you more successfully manage your diabetes. Choose wholesome natural foods and ensure that your diet is rich with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and low fat foods provide nutrients while avoiding the damaging effects of high fat foods, animal products and added sweets. Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water. A glass of water can help provide a sense of fullness and limit overeating. You will feel better and avoid the negative effects of dehydration.

Other Factors Influencing Daily Sugar Intake

How many grams of sugar per day? A variety of factors impact the amount of calories required on any given day. A few points to consider when planning out a dietary strategy include:

  • Age. This has a large effect on metabolism. As we age, metabolism generally slows down. Eating the same amount of calories when you are 45 years old will have a different effect on body weight and composition compared to the same amount when you were 20 years old.
  • Health conditions. Certain health conditions impact metabolism, caloric requirements and body weight. Those with underactive thyroid glands are prone to weight gain, while those with a hyperactive thyroid will tend to lose weight easily. Diabetics have an altered response to insulin. This hormone regulates blood glucose levels and diabetics can become resistant to its effects.
  • Physical activity. Activity levels impact metabolism. The more active a person is, the higher calorie requirement in the diet. The type of job a person does also impacts metabolism and body weight. Physical jobs and even those that require a lot of walking burn extra calories. Those with sedentary jobs need to pay close attention to extra calories and added sugar in the diet. Eating a candy bar during an afternoon break will result in packing on pounds for sedentary workers.
  • General food habits. Certain foods are more readily available depending on where a person lives. Fresh fruits and vegetables of higher quality are more often available in warmer locales. Certain ethnic foods may be rich in some nutrients, but lacking in others resulting in a nutritional deficiency.
  • Individuality. Each person has a unique genetic makeup and resultant metabolic and digestive system functioning. Two people may eat the exact same diet and amount of food, but the result in health will be radically different. Enlist the help of your doctor and a dietician to plan out the best way to ensure your diet is balanced, contains appropriate levels of proteins, vitamins and minerals and work to minimize the addition of non-natural sugars.

Sugar Content in Common Processed Foods

Use this table as a daily reference for planning your diet. It is easy for added sugar amounts to accumulate if a person is not careful in selecting foods.

Food

Total Sugar (g)

Added Sugar (g)

Plain bagel

5.05

4.8

Whole-wheat bread(one slice)

5.57

5

Regular soda

8.97

8.97

Fruit punch

11.29

4.4

Bowl of corn flakes

6.11

6.11

Fruit flavored yogurt

19

11.4

Italian dressing

8.85

6.9

Fruit cocktail (can)

13.93

6.4

Peanut butter

9.22

3.1

Granola bars

21.8

20.4

Spaghetti sauce

11.57

6.5

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