Updated: Jan 28, 2021
We all know we "should" limit how much sugar we eat, and we try, and we may either think we're doing pretty well, or know that we could cut back some more. A new tool that is becoming available to everyone is the added sugar and precent of daily value line on the nutrition facts label of all food products in the U.S. It isn't mandatory until 2020 or 2021 (depending on the size of the manufacturing company) but we've already seen many companies adding it on before the deadline. So what does this mean for you? It means you can have an even better understanding of how much sugar you're eating. Of course I'm not saying to start counting every single gram of sugar that you consume but, as you know if you are or have been a client of mine, awareness is a key factor in a healthy foundation. The American Heart Association recommends that women have no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) of sugar and men 9 teaspoons (36 grams). Unfortunately the nutrition labels use grams so we have to do a little math (There are approximately 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon). I'm going to point out that these are daily maximums, not something you're trying to reach! Here are two examples of this new tool:
The first is my favorite because look at all that sugar! As you can see, the added sugar is 65 grams, which we can now see is 130% of the recommended maximum... which means that it is recommended that no one drink a bottle of soda! By the way, to put it in terms we understand, a 20oz soda has over 16 teaspoons of sugar! Imagine putting that into your coffee each day.
The next example is going a little deeper: flavored yogurt. As you can see, the total sugar and added sugar are different. This is because dairy has naturally occurring sugar, and then they add in sugar for the flavoring. So there are 23g of total sugar with 13g of those from added sugar (26% of your recommended maximum) and 10g from naturally occurring sugar. Put another way, if you have flavored yogurt for breakfast, you are consuming about a quarter of your recommended maximum intake of sugar for the day.
This added sugar line is most helpful in products like these, that have both natural and added sugar but we never knew how much of each before now.
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