The important thing to know about daily sugar consumption is that there are two types of sugars that are included in the diet. The first of these is natural sugar which is taken from plant foods like fruits and vegetables while the second type is added sugar which although sourced from natural food sources is not labeled natural when added in their refined forms. These sugars usually go by names like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. How many grams of sugar you should have a day is also determined by the type of sugar being consumed.
While natural sugar sources are easy to identify, sources of added sugar can often be ubiquitous and hard to avoid. This is because added sugar is included in common food items like cakes, candies, fruit drinks, soft drinks as well as processed items of all sorts. It is this consumption of added sugars into the diet that raises the concern for how many grams of sugar you should have a day.
Like all things in excess, including too much sugar into the diet also has a number of associated health risks. Everything from dental decay and obesity to diabetes can be traced back to too much sugar in the diet. So here is a look at how many grams of sugar in a day is considered ideal for consumption.
How many grams of sugar should you have a day?
Sugar in its natural state that is sourced from fruits and vegetables can be part of any balanced diet without raising concerns. Along with the sugar content, fruits and vegetables also provide a number of important vitamins and minerals. But in the case of added sugars, the American Heart Association limits daily sugar consumption to 24 grams of sugar for women and 36 grams of sugar for men. In terms of teaspoons, these amounts come to 6 teaspoons and 9 teaspoons respectively.
For children and teenagers, how many grams of sugar should they have a day is regulated at 16 grams or 4 tsp daily for preschoolers and 12 grams or 3 tsp for children aged 4-8 years old. The recommended figures for teenagers are standardized at 20-32 grams of sugar daily or between 5 and 8 tsp of sugar every day.
How much sugar is recommended for diabetics?
The figures given above are for people who do not have diabetes, but for diabetics, these will be very different. For starters, how many grams of sugar should they have a day will mean managing and regulating sugar intake strictly. Diabetics will need to make this practice an integral part of their daily lives. They can work with either a dietician or a physician to make sure that an appropriate dietary plan is set up for them.
When determining how many grams of should they have a day, it may be important to reduce their daily intake of sugar drastically. This will also be influenced by their overall health as well as activity levels. As a general guideline, women may need to reduce their daily intake of sugar to 17 grams a day while men may need to do the same and bring down their sugar consumption to 25 grams per day. If the diet needs to be customized, their doctor can help specify a target for their daily sugar intake.
To help monitor blood glucose levels, diabetics can use a glucometer to record their daily glucose readings and manage their sugar intake better.
How many grams of natural sugar per day?
Natural sugar from fruits and vegetables has a distinct advantage in terms of nutritional value over its added sugar counterpart. Sugar acquired from fruits and vegetables comes with a host of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancers, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure among other high-risk health conditions.
But the key to enjoying the benefits of fruits without consuming too much sugar is to make them a part of a well-balanced diet. The USDA recommends eating two to four servings of fruit daily for healthy individuals. In doing so, determining how many grams of sugar should you have a day, fruit consumption should ideally be paired with including vegetables in the diet as well.
Just because fruit is considered loaded with natural sugar does not imply that you can eat as much as you want. While it is true that fruit is relatively low in calories, the fact still remains that some fruit is still very high in its sugar content, so try to eat balanced meals instead of relying on fruit to fill you up.
What can too much sugar do?
Too much of sugar, whether in natural or added form can lead to no good. Especially in the case of refined and processed sugar, there is no safe or minimal amount when calculating how many grams of sugar you should have a day. While natural sugars found in fruit may be able to provide balance to the diet based on their fiber and nutrient content, processed varieties cannot boast of any such benefits.
If anything they can contribute to a number of health issues like stressing the liver, increasing triglycerides and bad cholesterol as well as creating sugar spikes and lows in a vicious cycle. Sugar is also highly addictive and can trigger a habit-forming response in the brain. Not to mention that processed sugars are considered empty calories that have no nutritional value to offer. Instead of filling you up, these sugars encourage you to eat more.
How to reduce sugar consumption?
Because it is so hard to completely avoid processed sugar, limiting its intake can be challenging for most people. But you can make an effort by reading food labels carefully and replacing sugary foods with better alternatives like protein and healthy fats. When trying to manage how many grams of sugar you should have a day, make it a point to stay away from all artificial sugars or “sugar-free” treats that are loaded with artificial sweeteners.
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