Diane May Nutrition Blog

How Much Sugar Should You Have

July 15th, 2017

I always get asked how much sugar should I have in a day?  The short answer is no added sugar! There are many reasons why sugars are added to foods: It adds, flavor, texture and color, is a preservative, bulking agent, a flavor balancer and helps bread to rise. WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that we reduce our sugar intake to less than 10% of our total calories, with a further reduction of 5% as a goal. That is about 6-12 teaspoons-and even less for small children, and it doesn’t take much to get there.  The American Heart Association has even stricter limits. Added sugar finds its way into our diets in many ways.

  • Soda, energy drinks, fruit drinks
  • Candy
  • Cakes/baked goods
  • Cereals
  • Bread
  • Dairy products
  • Packaged foods
  • Granola/bars
  • Condiments

There are too many names for sugar to list them all, but the most common are:

  • Anhydrous dextrose
  • Brown sugar
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • HFCS
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maly syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose

It is important to know that using artificial sweeteners does not alter or reduce our craving for sweet foods.  A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that reducing sugar from the diet slowly works better than just cutting it out completely. Exercise can also help reduce the desire for sweet foods! It is important to think moderation when consuming sugar dense foods, which puts us at greater risk for obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Heart disease. Avoid packaged foods and take control of the foods you eat by cooking more at home, be creative  and coming up with healthier alternatives.


Watermelon Fruit Pizza

From: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2016

Ingredients                    8 servings
 ½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large round slices watermelon (about 1 inch thick), cut from the center of the melon
⅔ cup sliced strawberries
½ cup halved blackberries
2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves

·       Active 10 m
·       Ready In 10 m

Combine yogurt, honey and vanilla in a small bowl.
Spread ¼ cup yogurt mixture over each slice of watermelon. Cut each slice into 8 wedges. Top with strawberries, blackberries and mint.

Nutrition information
 Serving size: 
2 slices
Per serving: 64 calories; 1 g fat(0 g sat); 1 g fiber; 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 13 mcg folate; 1 mg cholesterol; 12 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 893 IU vitamin A; 22 mg vitamin C; 46 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 13 mg sodium; 237 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (37% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1 fruit