September 3, 2010 - Kathie Evanoff
Up until recently, no one cared how much sugar we ate.
Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture didnát have a recommended daily limit on sugar like they did salt and even carbohydrates. Added sugars are included among the discretionary calories they advise people to watch for when following the www.mypyramid.gov diet recommendations, but based on a 2,000 calorie diet, about 10 teaspoons or 40 grams should be the limit.
The American Heart Association thinks even that is too much. Last year, for the first time, the AMA offered guidelines for limiting sugar. They suggest most women should be limiting their sugar intake to no more than 100 calories per day, which equals about six teaspoons or 25 grams.
When we read the labels, this is one more thing in addition to calories, fat grams, fiber, sodium and cholesterol we need to watch. Remember that in most so-called “low-fat” foods, when fat is reduced, sugar is often added in its place.
Before these guidelines were in place, it was suggested we limit added sugars because they were “empty calories.” Added sugars are extra calories in our food that didn’t offer us any nutritional value. But now we have actual numbers that can help us keep a close reign on how much is too much.
The reason we have to read labels is due to added sugars that are hidden. Even tomato sauces and bread labels indicate there is high fructose corn syrup and other sugars used in those products, although you can find brands that don’t contain added sugars.
It pays to be diligent when food shopping because even when we are trying to avoid certain ingredients, they can be hidden in the things we buy without our even knowing it.