We all know that eating too much sugar isn’t good for kids or adults. But this year, for the first time, the FDA is officially announcing a daily cap on sugar: no more than 10% of daily calories from sugar. If you’re older than 3, that would mean you should aim to have no more than 12.5 teaspoons or 50 grams of sugar every day. To put this in perspective, 50 grams of sugar is how much sugar there is in a regular can of Coke! Kids aged 1-3 are recommended to not eat more than 25 grams of sugar a day.
On average, experts estimate that about 13.5% of Americans’ adults daily calories come from sugar, but for kids and teenagers, it’s more like 16%. Cutting out the obvious extra sugar in your diet – such as sodas, candies, and desserts – might not be easy to do, but they’re easy to spot. There are lots of other hidden sugars in your diet that you might not be aware of. There is sugar in foods that seem healthy, such as low-fat yogurt, pasta sauce, granola, and even wholegrain bread! Low-fat and low-carb foods might even have extra sugar to cover up the change in taste.
To help you figure out how much added sugar you’re really eating, the FDA wants to make new food labels that will show how much natural sugar and how much added sugar there is in foods. Added sugars are usually “empty calories,” or calories that don’t give your body any useful nutrients. Until then, the best thing you can do for your family’s diet is to check labels when you can and look for the “Sugars” number, which is in grams. Try to be mindful of how much sugar you’re actually consuming. Cutting back just a little bit could get you down to the 10% goal!
(Image courtesy of the New York Times)