Know your sugar limit


Know your sugar limit

Most of us know we shouldn’t be loading up on sugar-laced food each day. But it can be hard to find specific rules on how much sugar is okay.

Canada’s Food Guide, for instance, only suggests eating foods “lower in sugars” to limit extra calories in the diet.

If you’re trying to figure out whether you can have a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, a glass of juice, or even an apple, it can be tough to figure out what your own healthy limit should be.

That’s why recent efforts from the World Health Organization to spell it out are so helpful.

The WHO is using the topic of sugar as one weapon against the serious – and global – problem of obesity. Last year, the organization called for sugar to make up less than 10 percent of our diets – less than five percent, ideally.

Canadians are nowhere close. As CTV reports, A 2004 national health survey found sugar makes up “just over one-fifth of Canadians’ total daily energy consumption”.

And, CTV reports, 35 percent of that sugar intake “likely comes in the form of added sugar – foods other than grains, produce, meat or milk.”

"Free" sugars

Now, the WHO is getting more specific, urging us to think about the kinds of sweet stuff we’re eating. Fruits and other foods contain natural sugars – the WHO is saying don’t worry about those.

They suggest we should try to keep “free” sugars at less than five percent of our calorie intake – which makes sense, since it’s these sugary drinks, candy, donuts and other treats that push our sugar consumption off the charts.

But the best part of the WHO news is that they give us actual measurements to consider: 50 grams should keep you below the 10 percent benchmark, reports CTV. And 25 grams if you want a WHO gold star for keeping your added sugars at just at five percent.

While this may not take into account factors such as age and size, it’s a handy place to start.

Read more with five ways sugar sneaks into your diet and four rules for healthy snacking.


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Know your sugar limit