How to Reduce Your Sugar Consumption Jana_Koll Jana_Koll

According to the AHA, Americans are gulping down a crazy 22 teaspoons of sugar each day.

And, I’m sure you can imagine just where it’s all coming from too–soft drinks and candy–no surprise there then!

Clearly the advice to consume sugar in moderation needs to be clarified further for people to fully grasp it.

22 teaspoons of sugar is the equivalent of 355 calories, or roughly the same as what you’d get from a donut and a can of soda.

So, what are the recommended guidelines for sugar?

  • Most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons per day, or 100 calories of added sugar.
  • Most men should be getting no more than 9 teaspoons per day, or 150 calories of added sugar.

Now, just to be clear, these guidelines do not apply to naturally occurring sugars, for example those found in dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

How much sugar are you consuming each day?

If you regularly eat cookies, cakes, candies, sweet yogurts, sugary cereals, and drink lots of soft drinks and speciality coffees, it’s time to take a serious look at your diet, and try to figure out how to reduce your sugar intake.

Alas, it seems guzzling on soft drinks is one of the biggest culprits, so here are some approximations of the sugar content of drinks:

  • 375 ml can cola: 9-11 teaspoons
  • 250 ml pack pure fruit juice: 4-9 teaspoons
  • 300 ml bottle fruit juice and mineral water: 5-8 teaspoons
  • 250 ml pack fruit juice drink: 5-9 teaspoons
  • 300 ml carton chocolate flavored milk: 6-8 teaspoons

For more information, check out the USDA’s database for added sugar.

How to lower your sugar intake

  • Check food labels, and use this guideline: 10g of sugar or more per 100g is a lot; 2g of sugar or less per 100g is a little.
  • Reading food labels can get a little tricky – check out my article on 50 names for sugar you may not know, this will help you know what to look out for.
  • To give your taste buds time to get used to the change, be practical and reduce added sugar gradually.
  • Choose healthy snacks rather than cookies and cake – here are some healthy snack ideas.

Remember, this advice doesn’t equate to “never eat chocolate or drink sodas again!” but it does mean moderation. If the overall balance of your diet is generally good, it’s okay to pick your favorite sweet foods and spend those calories wisely from time to time!

Do you try to avoid too much sugar in your diet? What are your tips on how to reduce sugar?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Healthy Eating Guide September 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Recent research has shown that simple carbohydrates often cause extreme spikes in blood sugar levels, which increases the release of insulin to remove the excess sugar from your blood. When this happens your body also reduces its production of another hormone called glucagon, which is the only hormone that allows stored body fat to be released into the bloodstream to be burned by your muscles as energy.
.-= Healthy Eating Guide´s last blog ..Low Sodium Diets =-.


Carla September 26, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Aside from low-GI fruits and maybe a *little* agave or Yacon syrup (a little means 1/2 tsp), I don’t consume sugar. Having PCOS since puberty and insulin resistance for most of my adult life has in a way forced me to make significant changes in my diet. The same goes for most carbs.
.-= Carla´s last blog ..Green and Chic Reader Survey =-.

Reply October 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Avoiding cookies and adding sugar free to your deserts and beverages like coffee can reduce the intake…
.-=´s last blog ..Simple Steps to Fight Constipation =-.


Melanie October 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Do you mean sugar free sweetener?


Niche Topics January 3, 2010 at 2:40 am

Many are unaware that commercially prepared salad dressings are loaded with sugar. A better idea is to switch to vinaigrette and get the benefits of lower sugar without sacrificing taste.


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