Do you know how much added sugar you eat in a day?

Not all sugars are created equal. Foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products have natural sugars and are part of a healthy diet. But some foods, especially processed foods, contain added sugars, and this is where caution is needed. 

The daily recommended intake of added sugars is less than 50 grams per day, according to government health experts. And the World Health Organization says it should ideally be closer to 25 grams.

How much is 50 grams? About 12 and half teaspoons. But since presumably no one is eating sugar straight from a spoon, these recommendations don’t help much when it comes to measuring the added sugars we eat. Unfortunately, the current Nutritional Facts labels aren’t much help either, as they only report the full amount of sugar, natural and added. (Those labels will be updated soon, though!)

Thankfully, the New York Times has made tracking added sugar intake a bit easier. They’ve developed a tool to calculate how much added sugar you consume in a typical day. Go ahead, check it out. But keep these tips in mind to stay under the recommended added sugar limit:

  • Seemingly healthy breakfast cereals, granolas, flavored yogurts, and oatmeals may be deceiving as they can be packed with added sugar.
  • Drinks like sodas, bottled teas, and sports drinks can deliver up to a full day’s dose of added sugar.
  • Sauces and salad dressings can pack a lot of sugar. Look at the first ingredient — many times it’s a form of corn syrup.
  • Dining out can make monitoring added sugars challenging. But if you’re preparing meals at home, stick with the basics like meat, grains, and vegetables.
  • Be careful which snacks you choose — they can ruin a day of otherwise healthy eating!
  • Of course desserts are where you must be most careful. Many desserts contain at least half of the daily allotment. Staying vigilant throughout the day and minimizing added sugars in your other meals will help allow you to enjoy that dessert at the end of the day.

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