How Much Sugar Is Healthy To Eat Every Day? Find Out!


Sugar is one of the most addictive substances around the world, wreaking havoc on our health, weight, and fitness.

Sugar is a carbohydrate found naturally in a host of different foods, from lactose in milk to fructose in fruit and honey. There are two types of sugar: naturally occurring sugar (such as the lactose in milk) and added or 'free' sugars that include refined table sugar (sucrose) as well as concentrated sources like fruit juice, honey, and syrups. Health organizations including the NHS advise we cut back on these 'free sugars'.

The new recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK's official nutrition advisors are that only 5% of your daily calorie intake should consist of added, or 'free' sugars. This equates to approximately seven sugar cubes (30g). Children should have less – no more than 19g a day for children aged 4-6 years old (five sugar cubes), and no more than 24g (six sugar cubes) for children aged 7-10 years old.

Why is sugar bad for you?

If you're very active and exercise regularly some sugar in your diet helps supply ready energy to fuel your muscles and keep your brain active. The problem for the majority of us is that many of the processed foods we eat - in particular, those marketed to children - have added sugar that supplies energy in the form of calories, and very little else, so we end up consuming more than we need. A high intake of sugar causes our blood sugar levels to shoot up, giving us that feel-good 'high' followed by a crashing slump that leaves us tired, irritable and craving sugarier foods. It's a vicious cycle that may be contributing to our weight problems as well as health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

In recognition of these issues, we recommend that you all strive to cut down your sugar intake.

Ways to cut down on sugar

Making a few adjustments to your diet can help you cut down on unnecessary sugar consumption:

Reduce the sugar you add to hot drinks. Do so gradually to give your taste buds time to adjust. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to cappuccino or hot chocolate. Cinnamon has several health benefits and adds flavor without the sweetness.

Avoid low-fat 'diet' foods which tend to be high in sugars. Instead, have smaller portions of the regular versions.

Be wary of 'sugar-free' foods. These often contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame. Although these taste sweet, research suggests that they don't help curb a sweet tooth so they tend to send confusing messages to the brain and that can lead to over-eating.

Balance your carb intake with lean protein like fish, chicken, and turkey. Protein foods slow stomach emptying which helps manage cravings.

Swap white bread, rice, and pasta for wholegrain versions like oats, granary, and wholemeal loaves of bread, brown rice, and pasta.

Reduce the sugar in recipes and add spices to boost flavor and taste.

Stick to one glass of fruit juice a day (dilute it and enjoy with a meal to protect your teeth) and keep sweet soft drinks and alcohol for the weekends. Enjoy herbal teas or water with slices of citrus fruits for flavoring.

For a pick-me-up, have a piece of whole fruit with a handful of nuts or a small tub of plain yogurt. Both contain protein which helps balance blood sugar and energy levels. 

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