Sugar in your diet can be mainly in two forms –either occurring naturally or in the form of added sugar.
What Is Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar?
Let’s first understand what natural sugar is.
The sugars that occur naturally in whole foods like milk (lactose), fruits (fructose and glucose) & vegetables are known as natural sugars. These types have added health benefits like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Added sugars are not natural sugars. They include:
(i) Processed foods. The manufacturers put in sugar such as sucrose or dextrose while preparing or processing foods to make them taste better
(ii) Table sugar-like sweeteners
(iii) Sugars from syrups like maple & rice syrup.
(iv) Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
Natural Sugar Vs. Added Sugar
Let’s see how added sugars are different from natural & total sugars:
Natural and added sugars are entirely two different kinds of sugar. Natural sugars naturally occur in whole foods like fruits, and these come with added health benefits like fiber and antioxidants.
On the other hand, added sugars are added while processing packaged foods and provide only calories AND NO NUTRIENTS. This explains why they are called empty calories.
Total Sugars include sugars that are naturally present in various nutritious foods and beverages (like in milk and fruits) and added sugars that have been put in food products.
Foods Containing Added Sugars – Added Sugar Examples:
The main sources of added sugars are:
(i) Sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks (fruit punch & fruitage)
(ii) Candy & other sweets.
(iii) Baked goods like cakes, pastries, brownies, cookies, pies, and sweet rolls.
(iv) Frozen dairy desserts & milk products like sweetened milk, sweetened yogurt & ice cream
(v) Other grain products (breakfast cereals, cinnamon toast, doughnuts, and honey-nut waffles)
How Much Added Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend a maximum of 50 grams (roughly 12 teaspoons) of added sugar daily. However, for additional health benefits, the WHO further reduces this limit to staying below 25 grams (6 teaspoons) ) per day.
Following are the American Heart Association “Added Sugar Recommendations” about added sugar intake per day:
- Men should eat no more than nine teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar daily.
- The number is lower for women: six teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day.
Helpful Note: Think that one 12-ounce soda can contains eight teaspoons (32 grams) of added sugar! There goes your whole day’s allotment in one slurp. (Source)
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”