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Aug. 4, 2008
Sugar Sweet
According a recent survey of Americans, the first nutrient to get your attention when reading food labels is the Total Sugar. We all know we need to limit intake of sugar but many aren’t so certain about what “limit” means.

What's too much? After surveying my label-reading-friends, I found most have arbitrary numbers all over the board in mind. I like using common sense when it comes to sugar. For example, if it takes honey on your toast to get you to eat whole grain bread, enjoy a dab and add a dab of butter while you are at it. If it takes some chocolate added to milk to get you to drink it, do it. This is called eating with moderation and intention so that you may enjoy both pleasure and good health at the same time.

Many foods that are part of a healthy diet are made up of naturally occurring sugars from milk, yogurt, fruit, juice, and vegetables. These foods can provide all the sugar your body needs for energy in addition to other nutrients your body needs such calcium, fiber, vitamin C, and many more. So please don’t concern yourself too much with their sugar content if they are providing a good amount of other nutrients.

Sugars from other added sources such as honey, brown rice syrup, cane juice, and fructose provide only a pleasurable experience and calories. A balanced, healthy way of eating can have some added sugars, just not TOO much.

For all you avid label readers out there, let me give you a few numbers I use to guide my food choices:

Limit added sugars to about 6-8 teaspoons per day. This is about 30-45 grams per day. These are the numbers consistent with the USDA Dietary Guidelines and truly we mean when the say choose foods low in sugar.

So stress on sugar a little less and let moderation guide you to eat; enjoy the pleasure of tasty, healthy food.

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to brush your teeth
Posted by:
Tara, the RD
Food Matters

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