There are lots of hidden sources of sugar out there, and that includes, fruit, yogurt and yes, honey. Even though they’re essentially healthy foods but…how much much can I consume before going over the sugar limit?
Here’s the thing, there’s no official recommended daily intake of sugar.
However, there are recommended limits on how much added sugar you should eat in a day. But even those vary. The FDA suggests that no more than 10 percent of your day’s calories should come from added sugar.
So if you’re eating a 2000-calorie diet, that works out to about 52 grams (12 teaspoons) of sugar daily, or 364 grams (84 teaspoons) of sugar in one week.
Other organizations are even more conservative with their added sugar recommendations. Both the American Heart Association (AHA) and World Health Organization (WHO) both suggest about 25 grams (six teaspoons) per day of added sugar for women, or 175 grams of sugar (42 teaspoons) per week.
Added sugars are when processed (like white granulated sugar) or naturally-occuring sugars (like honey or fruit juice) are dumped into foods to make them sweeter, says Karen Ansel, R.D., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging.
Added sugars are most commonly found in packaged foods like cookies and candy bars, but you’re technically using added sugar when you’re putting organic honey on top of your yogurt, or baking with maple syrup.
When sugar is added to foods, it’s usually in high doses, minus nutrients like fiber that slow down absorption.
A 12-ounce can of soda, for example, serves up more sugar than three whole oranges (39 grams of sugar versus 36 grams, according to the USDA).
All sugars generally affect your body in the same way, they get broken down into energy for your muscles, organs, and brain. But foods with loads of added sugar (like that soda) are broken down by your body very quickly, making your blood sugar levels spike and then drop very, very rapidly.
In the short-term, the side effects of too much sugar include trouble concentrating and mood swings due to sudden drops in blood sugar. Too much sugar (specifically in foods high on the glycemic index) has also been linked to acne breakouts and premature wrinkles. (So…it’s literally doing you zero favors.)
Over the long term, regularly spiking your blood sugar with a diet of super-processed, sugary foods can lead to inflammation throughout your body and weight gain, and may even up your odds of other chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.