What should my daily limit be for added sugar?

Ms. Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Sugars are found naturally in some foods and added to others. The main concern when it comes to sugars is from the added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends limiting our daily calories from sugars (specifically added sugars) to ~100 calories or 6 tsp/day for women and ~150 calories or 9 tsp/day for men.

How much of the sweet stuff can you have without blowing a healthful eating plan?

If you want to ward off excess pounds and heart disease, heart experts recommend you use this simple cap: 100 calories. That's about how many calories' worth of added sugar you should limit yourself to each day.

Actually, it's 100 calories for women, 150 for men (lucky fellas). And an "added sugar" would be any sugar that's been added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation, be it sweetened yogurts, cereals, or candies. Unfortunately, most Americans get about 430 calories of added sugars daily—enough extra to easily contribute to the growing pandemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

So what does 100 mean in real-world terms? About a can of cola, actually. A 12-ounce can of sweetened soda has roughly 130 calories of added sugars. That means if you have a can of ginger ale, you've hit—or more likely passed—your daily limit. So use those discretionary calories wisely. And don't let them crowd out the nutritious things in life, like fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

You should limit added sugar in your diet to less than 10 percent of your total calories for the day, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association. Sugar in the form of liquid calories adds up quickly, so pick your fluids wisely!

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.