Sugar is everywhere; it’s in our food, it’s in our drinks, it’s found in nature, and we make even more of it in laboratories.
So how much sugar should you eat?
The World Health Organization recommends we take in less than 5% of our daily calories from added sugars. For the average adult, this means 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons per day. The bad news is that we take in way more than 6 teaspoons.
According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar every day.
It’s a full blown sugar epidemic and the subject of the recent documentary, “Fed Up”: “Your brain lights up sugar just like it does with cocaine and heroin. Over 95% of all Americans will be overweight or obese in 2 decades. By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes.”
So what are we supposed to do?
Sugary foods are a problem, but one of the biggest culprits of our super-sugar diet our our sweet beverages.
In the 2013 State of the Industry Report, Beverage Industry Magazine puts the drinks we have every day in perspective.
Like Coca Cola, a 20 ounce bottle of Coke contains 65 grams of sugar. That’s 260% of the daily recommendation! It’s the same for Pepsi and just one of these bottles is equal to 5 Little Debbie Swiss rolls.
But what about juice? Juice is healthy, right? A 16 ounce bottle of Sunny D original has 28 Grams of sugar—that’s the same sugar as 6 Oreo cookies.
And the 49 grams in a bottle of Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice is the same amount of sugar as 10 Oreo’s. You might as well eat 5 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups if you want the sugar found in 32 ounces of blue flavor from Gatorade or Powerade.
Finally, a Grande Starbucks ice flavored latte with 2% milk and syrup has 28 grams of sugar. You have exceeded the daily sugar recommendation and the day just started! You are being in the same position if you’ve eaten two and a half Krispy Kreme donuts.
So keep an eye on nutrition labels—even milk and tea can be comparable to a handful of candy.
So until food companies back off the sugar, it’s up to us to make the healthy choice, because sugar and spice is not always nice.