6 Ways To Kick Added Sugar Out, According To A Sugar Scientist

The Food and Drug Administration’s new recommendation that Americans eat no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar is a giant leap in the right direction, according to sugar scientist Laura Schmidt of the University of California, San Francisco. But confusion about the difference between added sugar and naturally-occurring sugar, as well as the way foods are marketed and labeled, have created a food environment in which people aren’t quite sure how much added sugar they’re actually eating — much less how to strategize ways to lower those numbers.

Naturally occurring sugar refers to the sugar that naturally comes in whole foods — say, the fructose in whole fruit, or the lactose in milk. Added sugar is the extra sugars and syrups that are added in the manufacturing of a food, like the white table sugar added to fruit to make jam, or the brown sugar in cookies and other baked goods.

Joining the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, the FDA made its 10 percent recommendation for added sugars in order to help folks avoid developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, which affects about one-third of American adults and roughly one in five children and teens.

In theory, it’s a great guideline, Schmidt explained. Practically, it means you’re going to have to figure out how much is best for you. The AHA says the 10 percent rule converts to no more than 100 calories of added sugar, or six teaspoons, for women, and no more than 150 calories of added sugar, or nine teaspoons, for men.

For kids, those numbers are even lower. Preschoolers should eat no more than four teaspoons (16 grams), and children ages 4 to 8 should eat no more than three teaspoons (12 grams) a day. Finally, pre-teens and —> Read More