The Daily Max

Sugar: The Daily Max

With so many treats, processed foods and snacks loaded with sugar, it’s tricky to figure out just how much we are eating. Luckily, most foods must indicate on the label the amount of natural and added sugars are contained in each serving. Below are the recommended maximum daily grams of sugar by age group. 

The recommended maximum daily intake of added sugar:

  • Adult males: 36 grams (9 teaspoons)
  • Adult females: 24 grams (6 teaspoons)
  • Preschoolers: 16 grams (4 teaspoons)
  • Children ages 4 to 8: 12 grams (3 teaspoons)
  • Teenagers: 20 – 32 grams (5 to 8 teaspoons).

Remember, four grams equals one teaspoon of sugar. 

Breakfast cereals are marketed to our children through bright colors and fun animals. These cereals are loaded with sugar. 

Even when parents think they are providing healthy foods, like a dairy or non-dairy yogurt or milk, we must review the sugar content listed on the back. 

  • Flavored yogurts, non-dairy yogurts, and nut milks can range in sugar content from 8 grams to 24 grams per serving.
  • Vanilla flavors also contain more sugar.
  • Buy the “unsweetened” variety which usually contains 1 gram or less of sugar.
  • Add your own fruit to the unsweetened variety.

Cereals we have always thought of as healthy, like Raisin Bran, may contain as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving.

If we are diligent in reading labels and demanding the removal of added sugars, especially in food that is marketed to our children, we may have a chance at turning the tide on obesity, diabetes and heart disease in our youth and us.

Labels list added sugars, sugars added to foods and beverages when they are processed. This does not include naturally occurring sugars. 

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