Eating foods with added sugar causes overweight and obesity, this we know.  How much sugar is too much, though?  The USDA Food Guidelines don’t specify how much sugar, they just say “limit” it.  Now, however, the American Heart Association has stepped forward with specific guidelines.

For women, the AHA says to limit added sugar in your daily life to 25 grams, which is around 6 teaspoons.  For men, the AHA tells us to not go beyond 37.5 grams, or approximately 9 teaspoons per day.  This amounts to about 100 calories from added sugar for women, and 150 for men.

That’s not much, especially since they report that average Americans consume 22.2 teaspoons, 90 grams or 355 calories a day.  Think about it: a typical 16-ounce soda (called “small” these days) has approximately 44 grams, or 11 teaspoons of added sugar.  There’s added sugar in most cereals, candy, deserts, juice “drinks” ketchup, even in healthy-seeming food products such as baked beans, applesauce, yogurt, fruit cocktail, granola bars – I can go on and on – added sugar is in almost everything.

The AHA has a great list of words found on labels, packages and boxes.  They all mean the same thing: SUGAR:

•    Brown sugar
•    Corn sweetener
•    Corn syrup
•    Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
•    High-fructose corn syrup
•    Fruit juice concentrates
•    Honey
•    Invert sugar
•    Malt sugar
•    Molasses
•    Raw sugar

•    Sugar
•    Syrup

A lot of people have asked me how I really lost 160 pounds, and I tell them “I asked God to help, and gave up sugar.”  Honestly, eliminating sugar really made a difference, and helped me lose a lot of weight.  I didn’t switch to sugar-substitutes or “diet” drinks or food, I just gave up eating foods that had added sugar and ate fruit instead.

Take a look at the American Heart Association’s FAQ’s on Added Sugars here.

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