So, how many grams of sugar should you eat per day? I get this question a lot! I have been studying the impacts of both sugar and sodium on our goals of fat and weight loss, that the answers really shocked me. Sugar alone can be a secret detriment to our overall health, let alone weight loss, that I’m going to answer today.
If you are really trying to watch your food intake, I always recommend using a tool like MyFitnessPal to track your progress. That way you can at least have a ballpark understanding if you can have that extra piece of food, or cheat here and there.
Plus, it will also give you a good stopping point to know if there is a bad diet that might be hurting you.
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How Many Grams of Sugar Should you consume Per Day?
There are no specific answers to this question exactly; however, after my research, I have found the best recommendation from the American Heart Association (AHA). Why I like this recommendation is that it best matches all research that I have found, and it is split up appropriately for men, women, and children:
- Sugar Intake for Men: 36 grams or 9 teaspoons per day maximum
- Sugar Intake for Women: 20 grams or 5 teaspoons per day maximum
- Sugar Intake for Children: 12 grams or 3 teaspoons per day maximum
Are you like me right now, saying: “WAIT WHAAAT!?!?!?”
I’m a guy, and only 36 grams of sugar!?! Did you know that even a regular Hershey Chocolate Bar has 24g in it!?! That’s more than a woman can have in a single day.
But let’s face it…Hershey’s aren’t going to get you good health and fitness anyway (sorry…)
Keep in mind that how many grams of sugar per day listed above is only for processed sugars. This is not for anything relating to natural sugars (fruit, veggies, etc).
Recommended Sugar Intake per Day According to USDA
On the flip side, the USDA makes mention that no more than 8% of daily calories should come from sugar.
So if you want to track how much sugar per day you are taking in does not exceed 8%, I have an option for you! Check out this post where I walk you through how to use the myfitnesspal tracker to hit the right macros.
Within the post on How to use MyFitnessPal, I show how to use the program through a custom module. From there you can aim to put 8-10% on sugar and how many calories you eat per day (1900, 2000, etc).
What Foods Should We Eat and Which Foods Should we Avoid for Sugar?
The type of sugar you should avoid is any processed, or unnatural, sugar. A prime enemy of unnatural sugar is soda drinks.
There are some good sugars, such as those in fruits like bananas, blueberries, and apples. While you do want to keep a close eye on these sugars, they are obviously healthier for you. The key I have found is to ensure you eat them in the morning. That way you use the energy from the natural sugar throughout the day. There is no sense going to sleep with sugar energy from fruit.
The worst foods for sugar intake, that you should avoid, include the following:
- White Foods: This includes white rice, white bread (including bread with white flour), white flour (doughnuts, pretzels, crackers, muffins).
- Jams and Jellies containing Sugars
- Fruit Drinks
- Energy Drinks (highly forbidden! More garbage in them than just sugar!)
Most of the sugary foods are also high in carbs. If you want to find a good alternative that will give you your carbohydrate energy while managing how many grams of sugar you get, consider eating this list of recommended carbs:
- Whole Grains: Such as brown rice and oatmeal. I believe oatmeal is one of the best breakfast foods. The right amount of fiber and carbs to get you moving super!
- Sweet Potatoes
- Flax Seeds
But you might be asking…
OK, so that’s great to lower how many grams of sugar I need per day, but what if I get a CRAVING!!
The key is tracking. If you are tracking and can afford a small sugar meal of want, go for it (in moderation). One cheat meal that is actually healthy for me that I use for my cravings daily is Shakeology. With only 6 grams of sugar and a dense serving of rare superfood nutrition (see the ingredients), it is a perfect sugar controller.
See more details and give it a try if you struggle with cravings. Better yet – check out my Shakeology Review for the real deal behind why I drink this daily.
The Impact of Sneaking Sugar (even a small amount…)
Some can argue that it was the PROGRAM that did the difference. I regress.
During my P90X3 journey I had a few cheat days. I also snuck some chocolate at least 2-3 times per week. During my Max 30 journey I had NO sugar ever. I ate whole, nutritious foods. My ONLY sugar came from the whole foods. I was committed.
How much sugar do you eat per day? What is your favorite evil sugar food? Comment below and let’s chat.
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Yours in Fitness Success,