How much sugar is needed per day?

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There is lots of differing opinion if you search on-line about how much sugar is needed per day.

Most websites will tell you the maximum recommended amount of sugar a day, because we are all aware of the dangers of consuming too much sugar.

The question remains about how much sugar, if any, we should be adding to our diets each day.

What is the maximum amount of sugar we should be consuming a day?

According to the NHS, we should be consuming a maximum energy intake from sugar of 70g for men, and 50g for women.

In teaspoons of sugar that is 17.5 level teaspoons for men, or 12.5 level teaspoons for women.

The American Heart Association recommends lower maximum limits of 37.5g or 9 teaspoons for men, and 25g or 6 teaspoons a day for women.

That sounds a lot, but also consider all the added sugar in foods that you consume throughout the day, such as any pre-packed foods, ready meals, cakes, desserts, biscuits, and sweets.

One can of “full fat” Coke contains 8.75 teaspoons of sugar, according to a report in the Daily Mail this year.

Is any amount of sugar necessary for human health?

There is a big difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars in the foods that we eat, naturally occurring sugars are absolutely fine.

The danger comes from when people’s diets are already containing enough calories, then extra calories are consumed through eating foods that contain added sugar.

Excess sugar can end up being stored as fat, and quick spikes caused by consuming sugary drinks in particular may be contributing towards the increasing prevalence of diabetes.

Sugar itself has no nutritional value. Recommendations are all geared towards lowering additional sugar intake as low as possible.

The body is capable of getting all the energy it needs throughout the day from carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruit, and animal products.

Is there any safe lower minimum?

According to Authority Nutrition, certain public health authorities recommend a minimum of 130g of carbohydrates per day, which could be in the form of vegetables, not necessarily refined sugar.

The reason for this is that the brain is believed to require glucose for fuel. There are certain cells of the brain that do require glucose, but many of them can be fuelled by ketone bodies.

Even when we don’t eat any carbohydrates, the body can generate glucose from proteins, and fats that we consume in our diet.

Sugar vs. carbs, protein & fats as energy

When you get your energy from sugar, it results in highs and lows of energy throughout the day. Such as the mid-afternoon slump.

This is because blood sugar levels rise and fall rapidly with our consumption of sugary foods and drinks.

By consuming a low-sugar diet, and getting energy from vegetables, proteins, and fats instead – we are able to feel more stable energy levels throughout the day.

Conclusions

It is hard to find a recommended lower amount of sugar, because really we should be reducing it from our diet completely.

Getting as close to zero calories per day from refined sugar is the ideal level.

In practice though, eliminating sugar from the diet is difficult to accomplish overnight.

Instead, try gradually reducing your sugar intake, such as by adding one less teaspoon of sugar in your tea or coffee.

You can also try preparing your own fresh meals from scratch, rather than buying in ready-meals which may contain added sugar.

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