How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?
Considering that sugar is always present and found in many of the foods we eat, especially irresistible desserts and treats, many people have a hard time escaping the sugar craving and limiting their daily sugar intake.
Don't worry, a little sugar won't hurt and sometimes it may be just what you need, but if you're struggling with sugar intake, it's worth understanding what sugar is, how much sugar to eat every day. , and how much it can do to your body.
What is sugar?
First, let's define sugar, which has become a rather ambiguous term despite its clear scientific meaning.
As science defines it, sugar is simply "any monosaccharide or disaccharide, used especially by organisms to store energy."
For a jargon-free definition, consider Merriam-Webster's entry "sugar," which defines sugar as "a crystallizable sweet material" that is "important as a source of carbohydrates in the diet."
As you can deduce from these definitions, sugar is not as bad as some people see it. It is just a combination of elements that energizes your body and has a sweet taste.
Chemical composition of sugar
Chemically speaking, "sugar" refers to any carbohydrate with the formula Cn (H2O) n. The "C" represents carbon and, as you probably know, "H2O" represents water.
Sugar, as most people know, is in the form of sucrose and sucrose has a different molecular structure, which is C12H22O11. Sugar is "the most basic and fundamental unit of a carbohydrate."
Types of sugar
Sugars can exist as monosaccharides or disaccharides. Monosaccharides are simple sugars, while disaccharides are complex sugars. Anyway, it's still sugar.
You may have also heard the terms oligosaccharide and polysaccharide, which refer to chains of monosaccharides. Oli and polysaccharides are not considered sugars but complex carbohydrates.
Other names for sugar
Although there are only two types of sugar in the chemical sense, sugar has several names. In fact, if you walk through your local grocery store and check the labels of different packaged foods, you may see sugar disguised as up to 50 (or more) names.
Here are some common names for sugar:
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Recommended sugar intake
Different health agencies have different sugar consumption guidelines, but the general gist remains the same: Enjoy sugar when appropriate, but don't eat too much.
Also, read nutrition labels to look for added sugars. Added sugars are added during processing and are different from the sugar found naturally in food.
Take a look at the sugar consumption guidelines recommended by the two major health agencies below.
Recommendation of the US Dietary Guidelines
Every five years, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) publishes an updated set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines stipulate that less than 10 percent of daily calories should come from added sugar.
On a 2,000 calorie diet, this means that less than 200 calories must come from added sugar. Sugar contains four calories per gram, so dietary guidelines effectively state that you should eat no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day.
Many people don't realize how easy it is to consume more than 50 grams of sugar a day. For example, if you like to drink soda, a single bottle of Coke can leave you with just 11 grams of sugar a day, and eating a bowl of cereal can easily provide that 11 grams.
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