It is recommended by the World Health Organization that we consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently modified their dietary guidelines, and they recommend people consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugars. Do you know how much added sugar an average person consumes daily? About 83 grams. This is 3 times the number advised by doctors.
Other than weight gain and cavities, which are quite harmful, high added sugar intake could possibly be a cause for diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer. That is more than enough to make a person reconsider their diet.
What is Added Sugar
Added sugars are sugars that are not part of particular food in its original form, and we add these while preparing or processing food. Added sugar is difference from sugar that naturally occurs in foods, for example sugars found in milk and fruits. A few foods and drinks that contain added sugar are:
- Soft Drinks
- Processed Fruit Drinks
- Dairy Desserts
- BBQ Sauce
- Low-fat yogurt
- Packed juices
Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
The two categories of sugar in a person’s diet are sugars that occur naturally and the artificially added sugar.
Sugars inherently exist in fruits and milk.
Added sugars are sweeteners that have been included to food and drinks during their production process. These sweeteners are made up of part natural sugars like honey, white or brown sugar and part other artificial sweeteners that have been chemically developed for example corn syrup that has been highly fermented.
To put it simply, added sugar is the sugar that is incorporated within the food or drink at a later stage, whereas natural sugars are those sugars that a food or drink contains organically.
Sugars can be used to help improve your intake. Adding a reasonable amount of sugar to your food in order to make the taste better particularly for kids to intake healthy nutrients is certainly better than consuming non-nutritious food that have been artificially sweetened.
While calories every serving cannot be separated from sugars that are mentioned in the nutrition’s information in a product, it can be of assistance to measure calories from all the sugars which include natural and unnatural sugars. Simply multiply the amount of sugar written with 4 as 4 calories = 1g of sugar. For instance, 17g of sugar in an item has 68 calories in every serving of sugar.
Note that all the sugars in the food are from artificial sugars if the product has no fruit or milk ingredients. In case, the ingredients have listed milk or fruits the added or artificial sugars may still be a part of the product.
Our digestive system is unable to differentiate between natural sugar and added sugar, as both chemical structures are identical.
Why restrict Added Sugars in Your Diet?
Here are a few convincing reasons why added sugar should be on your watch list if you prefer a healthy diet.
It is essential for a person’s health to limit his/her added sugar intake. Firstly, consuming too much added sugar can cause rapid weight gain. The main cause of the rising obesity rate all over the world is known to be beverages, which contain a considerable amount of added sugar. Plus, beverages and processed fruit drinks are loaded with fructose, a type of sugar that increases your hunger more than glucose. In short, beverages cause a strong urge to keep eating and drinking, leading to weight gain.
Secondly, diets that contain a large amount of added sugar are linked to a greater chance of suffering from heart disease. High added sugar intake is a cause of obesity, which leads to abnormal triglyceride, blood sugar and high blood pressure – all of which are causes of heart disease. In addition, consuming too much added sugar leads to atherosclerosis, which is a disease that clogs your arteries because of excess fat.
Having a diet that is overloaded with processed sugar can increase your risk of developing acne. Food and drinks that contain high added sugar levels cause blood sugar. Blood sugar leads to androgen secretion, oily skin and inflammation, which are factors that can lead to acne. Rural populations that consume natural, non-processed foods and drinks have a non-existential rate of acne when compared with urban populations.
It is known that a healthy diet plays a crucial role in maintaining good mental health. When your diet is leaded with added sugar, your mental health worsens and that can lead to clinical depression. Spiking blood sugar, neurotransmitter deregulations and inflammation are the main factors of processed sugar’s harmful impact on your mental health.
How many grams of sugar per day
If you’re wondering how much sugar can one consume in a day then there isn’t a direct answer to this query. A safe sugar intake amount can vary from person to person. Some people are not harmed by a high added sugar intake while others are affected by consuming even a small amount.
American Heart Association has the following recommended daily sugar intake:
- Less than 37 grams (9 teaspoons) for males
- Less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for females
Keep in mind that this is the total daily allowance which includes the added sugar that you consume in other food items like drinks, cookies, bread, and almost all processed food items. It does not mean that you have liberty to have 9 teaspoons of sugar daily without considering the added sugar that you are consuming in other food items.
Over lifetime periods WHO advises a lower consumption of free sugar. WHO prescribes that the consumption of free sugar be limited to less than 10% of maximum energy doses especially in adulthood and in children. A further 5 percent of decrease in sugars is advised by WHO.
A 500ml soft drink can contains 52 grams of added sugar, which surpasses your daily sugar intake boundary by a considerable amount. However, for a person eating 2000 calories a day, it is also safe to consume 50 grams of added sugar every day, which cover approximately 10% of the daily calorie intake.
How to read nutrition labels for added sugar intelligently
It is not easy to analyze and tell if the product comprises added sugars. The alternative words for added sugar can confuse anyone who has moderate knowledge about sugars. The section for sugar contains both added sugars and natural sugars. Any food item that includes the words fruit or milk means that the product, to some extent, has natural sugar.
The list of ingredients on the food processed packaging will inform you whether the item has added sugar but it will not say the precise quantity of natural sugars present in the product too.
Added sugar terms on labelling contains either brown sugar, corn sweetener or fruit juice concentrates. Honey, invert, malt, or raw sugars, corn syrups or syrup in general are some names you’ll find on the labels. Sugar molecules, simply for you, words that end in ‘ose’ are a sign that there is added sugar in the certain food item.
In addition, certain items contain sugar terms. Below are several generic terms along with their meanings:
- Sugar Free – Sugar for each serving fewer than 0.5 grams.
- Less/Reduced Sugar – At a minimum 25% less sugar for every serving than in conventional portion size.
- Zero added sugars – Completely natural and nothing artificial added to it.
How to follow no added sugar diet
Most people exceed the recommended daily sugar intake amount. For better understanding, NIC has calculated that many individuals consume more than 15 percent daily calories only from added sugars. These types of sugars are not naturally part of a particular food.
Going overboard with the consumption of these sugars can be the cause of many diseases such as the most obvious one; insulin resistance syndrome or diabetes. Other diseases are abdominal obesity, cardiovascular problems, high triglyceride levels, and blood pressure or cholesterol issues which can further trigger other fatal health conditions.
An individual can lessen the threat of suffering from these diseases by simply cutting down on consumption of added sugar. Substituting all that you eat which includes excess sugar with healthier alternatives will aid in obtaining all the important nutrients compulsory for a body. Cutting back on sugar might as well help you keep smart or lose some pounds.
The following are some useful guidelines to eliminate extra sugar:
1. A gradual approach
When modifying diets, you should take baby steps. You cannot expect yourself to make a shift overnight!
A slow approach can start by doing away with most apparent intakes of sugars like cookies and brownies can possibly be resisted. If it’s hard for you, give the baked goods up and then start by avoiding soft drinks or energy drinks.
Here’s another way, if you consume tea or coffee on daily basis with two teaspoons of sugar then try adding one teaspoon of sugar to develop your taste.
2. Pay attention to labels
After you have succeeded with step number one, you can start focusing on items that include heavy sugar ingredients. Knowing the ingredients in a certain a product will assist to distinguish between types of sugars that are safe to consume and the ones you need to stir clear from.
As sugar has substitute names and different types you can learn about the most basic ones here. There are a minimum of 59 other common names.
Another indicator is that several words in ingredients’ list ending with “ose” also specifies that the product contains sugar. Some usual names are lactose, dextrose & sucrose.
Added sugars are incorporated in many different foods; cooked or ready-made. Carefully going over the label is essential for anyone who’s trying to engage in a strict sugarless intake.
3. Dodge simple carbs
Simple carbs are foods that can be easily and quickly broken down and digested by the body. Strict sugarless intakes include cutting out simple carbs. Examples of simple carbs can be found in processed products and bakery items/processed flour items.
Simple carbs can trigger a shoot in blood glucose.
Simple carbohydrates can easily be swapped using whole grain food alternatives.
4. Dodge non-natural sugar
In the diet sector, manmade sugars are questionable. Artificial or non-natural sugars provide almost no calories.
But, if you consume unnatural sugars you could make the body believe it really consumes natural sugar. This can make it harder for an individual to commit to a sugarless diet as consuming added sugars can spike up your cravings.
Due to this, if you’re willing to commit to a sugarless diet, you will have to dodge consuming
- Pure Via or Steviva
- NutraSweet or Equal
- Sweet one
Chemical terms of such flavorings are also available on labels of products, mainly on items that are labeled as minimal sugars or low-calorie foods.
Chemical terms on the labels can have the following names: Acesulfame
Sucralose, Aspartame, or Neotame.
5. Cut down drinks with added sugar
For manufactured products, sugar can be conveniently omitted. But perhaps the main common outlet for refined sugar in a diet is the added sugar in drinks. Diet coke or other sodas, flavored teas and most juices are all part of the program.
Substituting these added sugar drinks with natural herbal teas, water or homemade juices can be seen as more beneficial for an individual. Consuming all-natural drinks can help keep your sugar intake balanced & obviously keep you hydrated.
6. Turn your attention to natural foods
Like we said, with a gradual approach you can swap processed foods with whole or natural foods such as fruits or veggies.
Natural or unprocessed foods can further include:
- Seafood: Salmon, shrimp, tuna
- Green tea
- Seeds: Pumpkin, sesame, and flaxseeds
- Beef, lamb or turkey
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and cashews
It is safe to consume a limited serving of dairy products like cheese, milk and low-fat yogurt.
7. Meals planning
It’s challenging committing to a lifestyle without a strategy. Having healthy snacks that are easily reachable is critical for someone who is trying to make changes in their diet. If they don’t, then the cravings might get the best of them, and they’ll be sucked back into the never-ending cycle of eating sugar 24/7.
So, it is vital to plan ahead of yourself. Making weekly or monthly timetables & shopping accordingly can give you a sense of motivation. But of course, having a cheat day or two is okay as well!
A diet that solely contains whole foods, without any added sugar contents, has many benefits. Specifically, decreasing sugar and maintaining a healthy intake can benefit you to:
- Weight reduction and eliminate any chances of obesity.
- Maintain a clearer and healthier skin, reducing the risk of skin cancer.
- Prevent mood-swings.
- Prevent frequent inflammation.
- Diminish the danger of diabetes
If you’re planning to start a no-sugar diet, gradually make your way into it.
Having a flexible diet plan may help you initially cope with a no-sugar diet. For example: starting off by consuming sugar only on special occasions.
Cutting out sugar from your diet, although a hard thing to do, is very beneficial for your health. It reduces the risk of many diseases and conditions, resulting in a healthy lifestyle.