Saturday, August 30, 2014

Agghh!!! How Many Grams of Sugar Should I Eating Per Day??

I get this question all the time! So I decided to do some digging, some research to see what was acceptable and why. Also, there are hidden sugars in so many foods that even I didn't realize! So it's really important that when you are starting to watch your food intake that you use a tracking device such as myfitnesspal to provide you with accurate information.


There is no black and white answer to the question, but 40 grams is the recommended amount for non-diabetic people. 40 grams of sugar refers mainly to added sugar, which is anything that is put into foods instead of what is naturally occurring such as in fruit. By this philosophy, for example, any and all sugar in soda would be considered "added," since the beverage itself is constructed rather than harvested. For Diabetics: Carbohydrate intake is a focus of diabetes diets because of the effect that carbohydrates have on blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates of all forms, including sugars, are broken down by the digestive tract and converted into glucose, which is then secreted into the blood. As a result, sugar and other carbohydrates have a more immediate effect on blood glucose levels than fats and proteins. Because people with diabetes have a natural tendency towards higher blood glucose levels, it is important for them to limit their carbohydrate intake.

Understanding the amount of sugar that goes into your body daily is very important. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.

A teenager who follows a healthy diet can take about 18 teaspoons of added sugars, according to USDA. (Average sugar intake of teenager is about 34 teaspoons of sugar per day.)

American Heart Association (AHA) recommends how much sugar per day we should take, the recommended daily sugar intake, which is healthy and not harmful for the body, has been developed for men and women.

How much sugar per day should we take:
Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Men: 36 grams or 9 teaspoons
Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Women: 20 grams or 5 teaspoons
Recommended Daily Sugar Intake for Children: 12 grams or 3 teaspoons 
Percentage of how much sugar per day:
The USDA sugar guidelines suggest that no more than 8 percent of our daily calories should come from sugar. It means that how much sugar per day we take should not be more than 8 percent.

When you see it broken down like this. I hope it makes you stop and think. I know while researching I had a huge Ahh ha moment. 

High Sugar Foods
Using 40 grams as the Daily Value for added sugars might reveal how much sugar per day is ideal for our body. For example, a cup of regular ice cream contains 60 percent of the proposed Daily Value for sugar, a typical cup of fruit-flavored yogurt contains 70 percent, and a 12-ounce soft drink or quarter-cup of pancake syrup contains 100 percent. Think about that for a moment. You make yourself and your kids pancakes for breakfast. The syrup you just drenched the pancakes in - you may have reached your sugar intake for 2 days, in less than 5 minutes! Then with the rest of your day, think how much extra sugar you are consuming, because you weren't keeping track.

High Sugar Diets and Obesity
High sugar diets, or high glycemic index diets, are linked to a variety of health problems, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. If you eat a high glycemic food or a high glycemic load meal, this will trigger a rapid rise in our blood sugar levels, our pancreas then becomes over-stimulated which releases large amount of insulin. What happens because of this? This large quantity of insulin rapidly mops up the excess sugar in our bloodstream causing our blood sugar levels to dip quickly below normal, causing us to feel hungry once more. So even though we may have eaten a high calorie meal, we are induced to feel hungry and eat again within a short time. This process may lead to excessive calorie intake and weight gain, possibly causing obesity.

Where do I cut down?
For diabetics, it really varies from person to person, depending on whether he/she is hypoglycemic, insulin dependent, medication dependent. My husband is a Type 2 Diabetic, but insulin dependent. So when we came up with his plan, we got the OK from his doctor. It’s always better to consult a doctor to understand how much sugar per day you should cut down and your individual requirements for sugar before following the above mentioned information. When the recommended daily sugar intake is spoken of, it refers not to simple sugars that we take in from sodas and desserts, not sugars from complex carbohydrates and fruit. I would never recommend to eliminate sugar completely from your diet, when your body is so used to it, and craves it because you continuously feed it sugar. Your blood sugar levels may drop to rapidly, or to low, which could lead to serious health issues. 

Symptoms of low blood sugar can occur suddenly. They include:
blurry vision
rapid heartbeat
sudden mood changes
sudden nervousness
unexplained fatigue
pale skin
difficulty sleeping
skin tingling
trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
loss of consciousness

I would recommend compensating for the excess sugar eaten, in the form of exercise. How much exercise will depend on how much sugar per day do you take. This is your body, your health, and it is very important to take it seriously and learn how much sugar per day you should take. You are in control, and you can definitely control it!! By getting the right amount of exercise, you can regulate how much sugar per day is being ingested and digested by your body.

Consult your doctor if you have any health problems, and also to check how much sugar per day is suitable for you.

The worst foods to eat when watching your sugar intake are:
White bread (includes any bread with white flour in it)
Pasta, unless whole grain
White rice
White flour, and products made with it such as cake, cookies, crackers, pretzels, doughnuts, bagels, and muffins
Potatoes and potato chips
Corn and corn chips
Sugar and products with added sugar, e.g. canned fruits in syrup
Jams and jellies containing added sugars
Ripe bananas (green OK)
Salad dressings and sauces with added sugar, such as Teriyaki sauce
Fruit drinks containing added sugar
Sugar-sweetened soft drinks
Sugar-cured meats (e.g. ham is often cured with salt and sugar)

Foods that are acceptable for low sugar diet.
All other vegetables and fruits (see low carb fruit and vegetable lists.)
Whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal
Whole grain flour
Products made with 100% whole grain flour (note that “wheat flour” is NOT whole grain – it has to say WHOLE wheat), as long as they have no added sugars
Sweet potatoes
Lean meats (remove skin from poultry, trim lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb) Nothing sugar-cured. (Low saturated fat meat list)
Fish and seafood (not breaded)
Nuts and nut butters
Flax Seeds
Olive and canola oils
Low fat milk and other dairy products such as unsweetened almond milk, soy or rice milk

How to decrease your sugar intake to a healthy level?

1. Cut down slowly.
2. Grant yourself a daily sugar “quota,” and use it where it matters most
3. Instead of downing sugary-sweet drinks like lemonade, make your own “sun tea.”
4. Look for hidden sources of sugar.
5. Choose the right breakfast cereal
6. Watch out for mixed alcohol drinks.

Shakeology can cure a wicked sweet tooth. One of my vices for sugar cravings is Shakeology. I tend to crave sweetness in the evenings (sometimes during the day too) so I have been saving my shakes for my morning snack. It has been doing wonders for me. I mix it with water, ice, some almonds or almond butter, banana, with a scoop of chocolate Shakeology! Plus it's low glycemic index and doesn't cause a spike in your blood sugar! Love it!! You should give it a try if you struggle with cravings!