How many grams of sugar per day can be a pretty tricky question when you really think about it. When we often think about weight loss and keeping track of our food consumption, we think about calories, but when it comes to sugar, sometimes we think in terms of grams. Why?
Over-consumption of sugar is actually more common than you think and it can be avoided by taking a smart calorie-based approach and sticking to it. I’m going to discuss how much sugar you should be having each day, what the difference is between refined and natural sugars, and your options as far as safe sugar substitutes go.
How Much Sugar Should You Have A Day?
With so many potential health problems that have come about as a result of too much sugar, as a rule of thumb, the amount of sugar you consume should not exceed 30% of your daily caloric intake. It appears to be a consensus among most nutritionists that less than 40 g of sugar per day is optimum.
According to the American Heart Association, men should consume around 37 grams (7.4 tsp) and women should consume about 25 grams (5 tsp). If you’re diabetic, you should be consulting a licensed physician about your recommended sugar intake per day which is usually less than 10% of your daily caloric count.
And it’s odd that people would approach this issue from a gram-based perspective when you should really approach this type of food like any other, from a more caloric-based accession. Each day, you should really strive to consume a food combination that’s 55% carbohydrates, 20% fats, and 25% protein. When you focus on percentage of calories as opposed to the mass of your consumption, losing weight and eating less becomes much easier.
Natural Vs. Refined Sugar
It’s important to note that not all sugars are bad when thinking about how many grams of sugar per day. Refined sugars, sugars that don’t come from natural sources like milk and fruit, are the ones that should be reduced or even eliminated from your diet. And as a side note, surprisingly, some low-fat milks contain more sugar in order to make up for lack of taste so you can’t even be completely certain with natural sugar sources unless you read the labels.
Common refined sugars include
- Table sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn Sugar
Those are the sugars that you want to cut back on and here are a number of reasons to do so:
- Increases the development of wrinkles and aging skin.
- Increases your risk of acquiring osteoporosis
- May lead to rotting teeth
- Spikes your blood sugar level leading to “sugar crashes”
- Major cause of obesity
- Can become addictive
- Sugar is empty calories (No nutritional value)
- Excessive consumption may lead to diabetes
- Can lead to hypoglycemia
- Can lead to candida (serious yeast infection)
I have a friend that actually walks around drinking an entire 2 liter bottle of soda maybe twice a day. Holy cow. It’s guys like that that I really worry about some of the bullet points above.
Popular Sugar Substitutes
Now of course, you don’t have to completely remove all foods that contain refined sugars and start hating your existence to start becoming healthier. There are a number of viable sugar substitutes. For instance, here are some of the most popular sugar substitutes that you probably have already heard of but are not using:
This sugar substitute has been sitting out on diner tables for decades and has been known to be 180 times sweeter than regular sugar. However, it can’t be used in baking since it breaks down when exposed to the heat and people born with phenylketonuria should not consume it.
You can actually bake with this one and it’s a whopping 600 times sweeter than sugar. It’s also one of the safest, contains less than 4 calories per packet, and has one of the closest tastes to sugar yet.
Sweet and Low
This is another popular one and it’s about 300 times sweeter than regular sugar. However, it was at one time linked to bladder cancer and was banned in Canada. In 2001, the ban was later lifted due to new research.
This substitute has just recently come around, but has been quite popular in Japan. It’s been recorded as about 250 times sweeter than regular sugar, but can have a licorice-type after taste. There is still come controversy about how safe it actually is.
How Many Grams Of Sugar Per Day?
Like I mentioned before, the acceptable amount of refined sugars that appears to be a consensus among most nutritionist is around 40 grams or 30% of your overall daily caloric intake. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to eliminate as much refined sugar from your diet as you can.
You might be amazed at just how sweet and tasty fruit is if you’re not really into it. For people that love sugar, maybe you’ll want to consider a fruit and vegetable detox just for kicks to explore your dietary options.
But even if you don’t want to completely kick sugar after thinking about how much sugar per day, there are a number of substitutes that I’ve mentioned above that are great for cooking or sprinkling on your cereal and in your coffee. The point is to just try something new if you sense that you’re eating too much sugar. The least that can happen is you’ll get a bit healthier.P.S. If you're interested in the diet that I use when I want to get particularly lean, it's Eat Stop Eat. It's very progressive, and probably not like anything you've tried before.