Sugar is Poison. Sugar is going to kill you. Sugar makes you fat.
Do these lines sound familiar?
How much can you really eat? What is the recommended daily intake of sugar?
It seems that extreme messages such as these are what catch people’s attention. Perhaps it’s the wow-factor, or maybe it’s the simple idea that cutting out one thing from your diet will help you lose weight.
Many people do not know what it is all about. Sugar is in many products that we use every day. It is important to be aware of this. Just like it is important to stay in motion.
I am almost 40 years in the fitness business and have seen a lot of changes over the years what’s good for you and what’s not, but too much-added sugars were never good. Personally, I think the imbalance in someone’s diet is a big factor of health issues related to your nutrient intake.
How Many Grams of Sugar Can You Eat (to Lose Weight)?
Sugar has been given a bad name in recent years, and that is not without reason.
Excessive sugar use causes numerous health problems and contributes to 35 million deaths worldwide each year
That is why it is important to know how many grams of sugar you can eat per day.
What you learn about sugar in this blog is:
- How much sugar per day I recommend eating
- The difference between natural and added sugars
- The harmful effects of high sugar consumption on the human body
- The main health reasons for eating less added sugar
- 6 foods that contain a surprising amount of sugar
What is sugar?
Sugar is a natural ingredient that has been part of our diet for thousands of years. Sugars are a form of carbohydrates that supply energy to our body. All sugars and starches are broken down into glucose in the stomach and intestines.
Glucose is an important source of energy for the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the human body. Our brain alone uses about 130 grams of glucose per day.
Sugar in its natural form can be found in countless foods. Think of fruit, vegetables, milk, etc. Added sugars are sugars that are used by the manufacturer during the production and preparation of certain food products.
The body does not distinguish these different types of sugar and breaks them down in exactly the same way. This means, for example, that sugar in a banana is broken down in the same way in the body as sugar from a sugar cube.
Sugars are different types.
The most famous sugars are:
- Glucose: fruit, vegetables, honey, table sugar, dairy products, cereals
- Fructose: fruit, vegetables, honey
- Galactose: milk products
- Lactose: milk products
- Sucrose: fruit, vegetables, table sugar, honey
- Maltose: malt products, some cereals
How much sugar per day?
The short answer: the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating up to 10% of your energy requirement per day for added sugars and preferably 5%. This means 50 grams of sugars per day for a woman who eats 2000 kcal daily. In case, you want to lose weight or want optimal health, it is advisable to eat 0 grams per day.
Recommended amount of sugar per day
Research shows that the American population consumes more than 28 kg per year in added sugars (excluding drinking fruit juices)
According to this study, sugar consumption declined by 23% between the years 2000 and 2008, mainly because people started drinking less sugar-sweetened drinks.
In the timeline below (source) you see that the consumption of sugar and the increase of people with overweight in the Western world are connected:
Although the exact figures vary from research to research, it is obvious that we eat more sugar than is good for us
The less sugar you eat, the healthier you will be.
The advice of a maximum of 50 grams of sugar per day (for someone with an energy requirement of 2000 calories) is more solid advice that instances suggest that it is feasible for the masses.
The optimal advice is still to eat as little added sugars as possible, so you also get fewer calories, which reduces the risk of overweight.
The recommended portion of added sugars is 0 grams per day, only extract from fruit and vegetables. This advice applies to both adults and children.
How much sugar you can eat if you want to lose weight
How much sugar can you eat per day if you are overweight or obese? If you want to lose weight or value your health, you should avoid eating as much food as possible with added sugars.
Sugar encourages over-consumption.
Eating processed carbohydrates (free sugars) increases the chance of being overweight and undermines health.
Even food that is prized in the supermarket as healthy can be full of added sugars (56% of the food products in the supermarket are sugar-added
Many people who are overweight or obese are addicted to sugar. Eating sugar or sugar-rich products causes opiate-like effects and influences dopamine activity in the brain’s reward center.
Although sugar does not have any lasting effects on the brain (as is the case with some drugs), it does have similar addictive effects (source).
For this reason, eating sugar can cause people to lose control of their sugar consumption.
In the same way, as a smoker must avoid cigarettes, a sugar addict must try to avoid as much added sugars as possible.
It is therefore important to limit the intake of sugar as much as possible. This means that you consume as little food products as possible that contain free sugars.
Natural sugars vs. added sugars
It is extremely important to distinguish between added sugars and sugars that naturally occur in foods such as fruit and vegetables.
The best way to drastically reduce your sugar intake is to avoid added sugars as much as possible. This approach is effective and fairly simple.
For example, fruit contains fructose, but can be eaten simply because it contains fibers, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants in its natural form.
Because of the fiber in fruit, fruit sugar is not absorbed into the blood as quickly. This has the advantage that the blood sugar level rises less quickly. Moreover, Fructose does not give saturation warning to your brain to let you know that you have to stop eating, while fibers promote the feeling of satiety.
There are also studies where people ate 20 servings of fruit every day and even after a few weeks or months did not arrive. In short, fruit belongs in every healthy diet, even if you want to lose weight.
What is more striking is that processed foods with added sugars are often low-fat. They lack healthy fatty acids that are necessary for a good balance in our body.
Some tips to eat less (added) sugars:
- Always read the food labels in the supermarket
- Do not be fooled by the different names for sugar. Discover all the sugar hidden names here
- The most used ingredient in a product must be put on the food label at the front. Therefore, avoid the product as sugar occurs in the first three ingredients
- Do not buy food products with more than one type of sugar