Eating a Healthy Amount of Sugar

Eating a Healthy Amount of Sugar

How much?

Sugar is a natural part of our diet and it’s something we all love, but it is important we keep a close check on the amount of sugar we eat.  Eating excess amounts of sugar can lead to problems with our health including diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.

So what is a healthy amount of sugar to eat?  The World Health Organisation recommends that no more that 5% of our daily calorific intake should come from simple sugar.

For men, this translates to 150 calories of sugar per day, or 37.5g.  For  women, this translates to 100 calories per day, or 25g.

For simplicity sake, we can say for adults that the recommended daily amount of sugar is around 30g.

In children aged 4-10, the recommended amount of sugar is lower – about 20g.

Looking out for sugar

Sugar can come in many forms and can often be hidden in processed food, so here are a few things to look out for:

  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Honey
  • Corn syrup
  • Mollasses

All forms of sugar are essentially the same.  Brown sugar is comparable to white sugar, and natural sugars such as honey are equivalent to processed sugars.

The only exception is sugar in whole fruit.  Whole fruit sugar is good for our health, but it is important we don’t confuse this with sugar in fruit juice.  When we liquidise fruit to make a juice this frees the sugar and makes it behave like other forms of sugar.

Check the your food labelling for the item ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ to see how many grams of sugar your food contains.

The offenders

So where does the sugar in our diet come from?

Research shows that, on average, about a quarter of our daily sugar intake comes from sweets and confectionary, roughly a quarter comes from drinks, a quarter from cakes and cereals, and the remainder is from yogurts and dairy products and savoury food such as ketchup.

To put things in context, a 330ml can of Coke contains 35g of sugar, or a 45g chocolate bar contains 25g of sugar.  It’s easy to see how you can easily exceed the recommended daily amount of sugar!  This is something we’re going to cover in more detail in future blogs.


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