Do you know how much added sugar you’re eating? It’s an important question now that the World Health Organization is telling us to cut back on those sweeteners because of mounting evidence of the link between high sugar intake and obesity, tooth decay, and death from heart disease. The new guidelines recommend that no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar. For most adults that means about 6 teaspoons or 25 grams. The problem is that while about ¾ of packaged foods contain added sugar – food companies aren’t required to distinguish on labels between these sweeteners and naturally occurring sugars – the good kind you find in fruit and vegetables.
The publication Mother Jones crunched the numbers on some everyday snacks and found it wouldn’t take much to exceed the limit. An 8 oz. container of low-fat strawberry yogurt has 6 teaspoons. A can of pop has about 40 grams and would put you over the limit.
Health Canada says it is reviewing these recommendations. It relies on the U.S. Institute of Medicine for its guidelines,and that body currently suggests limiting added sugars to no more than 25 per cent of daily calories. However, it’s been more than a decade since this group looked at sugar – while a landmark study earlier this year found that eating more than a quarter of your calories in sugar nearly tripled the risk of heart attack.