How much sugar do we need each day?
You might be surprised to know that we do not actually have any need for the sweet stuff in our diet AT ALL. That’s it – zero, zip, zilch requirement for sugar.
Sugar wasn’t really part of our diet in any significant quantity until the 19th century when a process was discovered to produce it in large quantities. Before then it was very expensive and regarded more as a spice.
Sweetness tended to come from honey once the bees had been persuaded to let it go.
Now though sugar is in everything and the bad news is that the only benefit we get from it is energy. It is empty calories: no vitamins, no minerals and no fibre. The addictive substance takes up space in our diet that we could use eating more nutrient dense food.
Great info Andrea – how do I work that out then?
Well, if you take sugar in your tea or coffee – just add it up. Vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheeses and meats tend not to have any unless they are processed.
It’s the hidden sugars in processed foods that cause a problem because we don’t realise that they are there and the food may not even taste particularly sweet. In order to track them down we have to be able to read the label.
Here’s how to work it out:
- one level teaspoon of sugar weighs 4 grams
- Look at the nutritional information on the packet – you are looking for carbohydrates – of which sugars
- Read across to the of which sugars in a portion and divide that number by 4. This gives you the number of teaspoons.
- In the example below a single biscuit contains 3g of sugar. They come in packs of 4 so assuming that you eat a pack for breakfast you get 12g or a whopping 4 teaspoons. That is 2/3 of a woman’s daily intake just at breakfast.