Is My Sweet Tooth Too Sweet?
Easter is upon us, and with that comes warmer weather, blooming flowers, and candy… lots of candy. If you're like many of us, you may often feel like you're over-indulging in Easter treats, but you're not sure how much is too much.
Gina Feldkamp, a dietitian with the TriHealth Weight Management Center , explains how much sugar adults should be consuming - whether it's during your annual Easter egg hunt, or on a daily basis.
How Much Added Sugar Can I Eat?
When it comes to sugar consumption, adult women should have no more than 25 grams daily from added sugar, and adult males should have no more than 37 grams. "It can be easier to think of sugar intake in terms of calories, rather than grams," Feldkamp explains.
When converting gram consumption to calories, this equates to:
- Women: 100 calories per day from added sugar
- Men: 150 calories per day from added sugar
To put this into perspective, a single serving of Peeps has 160 calories from added sugar. You can see how this makes it easy to reach, or exceed, your daily limit for added sugar with a single serving.
What's the Difference Between Added Sugar and Natural Sugar?
Naturally occurring sugars, like fructose and lactose, are those found in dairy and foods that have not yet been processed. Natural sugar can also be found in fruits, which contains water, fiber and micro-nutrients.
Added sugar, on the other hand, is sucrose (or table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. It is an ingredient that is added to many packaged and processed foods and drinks. According to Feldkamp, most foods you would expect to have high added -sugar most likely do.
"Whether it's added sugar or natural sugar, it will still show as sugar on the food label, so it easily confuses people," Feldkamp explains. As an example, canned fruit packaged in fruit juice is OK to eat, while canned fruit packaged in syrup contains added sugar.
There are also many foods that have been processed to decrease the fat content, but increase sugar and salt to make up for lost flavor. Feldkamp notes salad dressings as an example.
Being Mindful of What You Eat
Added sugar is not a hidden ingredient in food, so those concerned about added sugar consumption should check product labels to see if they indicate no sugar added.
If you're overweight, diabetic or tend to overindulge, added sugar should be avoided.
It's important to note, however, that some people can handle sugar if they're not diabetic or overweight, and they don't find themselves wanting to overindulge.
You can also visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website for additional information about the Nutrition Facts Label or for additional dietary guidelines.
Last Updated: April 12, 2017