Do you really know how much sugar you consume? Do you know what your max sugar intake should be? Though it varies from person to person, the American Heart Association suggests that the average adult consume no more than 26 grams of sugar a day. But don’t mistake that as a daily recommended value, you should shoot to stay far under that. However, if you neglect to read labels carefully, you might be well over the maximum. Taking the time to read labels and understand where the sugars are coming from is crucial to avoiding too much sugar in your diet. Furthermore, not all sugars are the same. Sugar naturally occurring in a whole apple is far different than the sugar in apple juice, and that is because the whole fruit is whole, and thus has fiber and pulp that makes the body digest the sugar differently. Understanding these differences is crucial to your health.
Do we have the human right to use huge amounts of agricultural, human, and petroleum resources to produce unhealthy food that makes us fat and sick…and threatens to overwhelm our health care system, when so many people in the United States and the rest of the world have too little food? It’s an individual choice.
Sugar is hiding everywhere in the Western diet. The underlying factors to most chronic, lifestyle diseases are too much sugar and too little activity. However, educating yourself about the sugar in your diet is the first step to avoiding these deadly diseases. Companies do not make it easier though. Labels proclaiming “Low Fat” and “No Added Sugar” try to convince us of a product’s healthiness, yet rarely are they truthful. Plus, nutrition labels are misleading: sugar is tabulated in grams, ingredient lists are complex, and sugar has lots different names, yet all effect your body the same way–negatively. But all of this is avoidable by gaining some knowledge and putting forth some effort to be a more conscious consumer.
The American Heart Association has a great overview of how to discern sugars on food labels and convert from grams of sugar to teaspoons of sugar:
Here is a great website that lists the different names of sugar and how common they are: