There’s a good chance that you’re consuming more sugar than you should on a daily basis. The sweet stuff hides in everything from the sauce you put on your pasta to the (seemingly healthy) almond milk you pour on your breakfast cereal. That’s not even counting all the places we know it’s lurking — like soda and ice cream. (Seriously, check out these 33 sneaky nicknames for added sugars.)
Yes, it tastes delicious by design, but consuming too much sugar has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including obesity and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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The majority of Americans can attribute a whopping 16 percent of their daily calorie intake to added sugars (think: the stuff found in cookies, not the natural sugars found in fruit), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s way more than the five percent of sugars we should be aiming to consume per day, as recommended by the World Health Organization.
In order to stay healthy, the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons, or about 25 grams, of added sugars per day for women, and nine teaspoons, or about 36 grams, for men. To put that in perspective, more than 70 percent of Americans eat at least 22 teaspoons of added sugar daily, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
In fact, it’s possible you’re meeting — or exceeding — your daily sugar intake target with just one meal, snack or beverage a day. Here’s how it happens.
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Written by Amanda Woerner for Life by DailyBurn. Illustration by Angela Reynoso.
Originally published May 2015. Updated August 11, 2016.