You’ve finally kicked the ice-cream-after-dinner habit. There’s no way you’re eating too much sugar. Right? While nixing obvious sugar bombs like candy and cake is a huge step toward a healthier diet, there are lots of other places sugar hides. That includes everything from high fructose corn syrup found in some salad dressings to fruit juice added to “all natural” protein bars.
Sugar is a carbohydrate in its simplest form, which your body breaks down into glucose—your body’s preferred form of energy. Simple sugar alone moves to your bloodstream quickly, causing your body to spike the production of insulin to transfer glucose into your cells
Some preliminary research has suggested that a high-sugar diet raises your blood sugar, increasing free radicals and compounds that boost inflammation. Over time, too much sugar ups your risk of obesity, increasing your risk of diabetes, and may even on its own increase your risk of conditions like certain cancers and chronic illnesses like heart disease, says Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D.
The Risks of Too Much Sugar
You’re Breaking Out Around Your Mouth and Chin
You’re Super Moody
You Can’t Get a Good Night’s Rest
Your Skin Is Prematurely Wrinkled
You Keep Getting Cavities
You Crave Dessert After Every Dinner
You’re Constantly Hungry
You Have Joint Pain
It’s Impossible to Lose Weight
Your Brain Feels Foggy
Fruit Just Isn’t Sweet Enough
You’re Constantly Bloated
You Don’t Feel as Strong
Your Blood Pressure Rises Slightly
You’ve Lost Motivation to Work Out—Ever
How Much Sugar Should You Eat Per Day?
The FDA says that no more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from added sugars—that adds up to 38 grams (10 teaspoons) for women on a 1,500-calorie diet, or 51 grams (13 teaspoons) for men on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Processed foods, in particular, can get sneaky: Even though apple juice might be made from a natural sugar, it can still saddle a food with way too much overall sugar. An açai bowl or smoothie, for example, can overdo it with a too much fruit—which essentially becomes added sugar. Just because a label says ‘no added sugar,’ you still want to read the label and see how many grams of sugar there are in that item per serving.
When it comes to the natural sugars found in a whole sweet potato or an apple, most of us don’t come even close to overdoing it. Experts aren’t worried about the sugar content because you’re getting so many other benefits, like vitamins and fiber to slow down and how your body absorbs and uses sugar. As a general guideline, limit yourself to about two cups of whole fruit a day.