Here’s what the maximum amount of sugar you should be eating in a day looks like
Sugar: Love it, hate it, but you certainly can’t ignore it.
The FDA recently proposed that nutrition labels on foods be required to list the amount of added sugar as a percentage of the recommended maximum daily intake, or about 50 grams of sugar.
Since “50 grams” isn’t exactly easy to picture, we decided to show you what that looks like (based on data from the nutrition website Caloriecount.com):
A single can of soda
If you’re a fan of soda, you may want to consider kicking your habit. A 12-ounce can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar — four-fifths of the FDA’s recommended limit, while the new “cold activated” 16-ounce can has a whopping 52 grams. You might consider drinking diet soda instead, although some studies suggest diet drinks may be not be healthy either in the long run.
One fancy coffee drink
Many of us nurse a Starbucks habit, but you may be surprised to realize just how unhealthy this can be. For example, one grande Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream contains 52 grams of sugar — and that’s all you’re supposed to have all day!
Not only that, but one of these drinks contains 430 calories and 16 grams of fat — about a quarter of the recommended daily limit (and half of your daily saturated fat). The “light” frappuccino fares slightly better, with 29 grams of sugar and 140 calories.
Yogurt is one of the stealthiest places for sugar to hide. Those Yoplait yogurts your mom packed in your school lunches? Those contain about 26 grams of sugar each, which is half of your daily allowance. One yogurt contains 4.9 grams of protein, which isn’t that much considering that experts say you should get about 80 grams of protein per day.
Better to stick with a plain, Greek yogurt like Chobani, which contains 14.5 grams of protein and just 4 grams of sugar.
Five bowls of sweet cereal
Remember those cereal commercials where they say, “part of a balanced breakfast” and they show it with a slice of whole wheat toast and a glass of orange juice? Well, the emphasis is on part.
One serving of frosted flakes has 10.3 grams of sugar (almost as much as a glazed donut!) or a fifth of your daily added sugar allowance. A balanced breakfast indeed.
Four spoonfulls of jam
Millions of American children lunch on peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches every day. But the all-American lunch food is actually pretty sugary. One tablespoon of Smuckers Concord grape jelly contains 12 grams of sugar. So two spoons at breakfast and two at lunch will almost get you to the 50-gram limit. Add to that some JIF peanut butter (3 grams per serving) and white bread (1.1 grams/slice), and your child has gone beyond a healthy sugar dose.
Less than a bottle of Gatorade
That refreshing sports drink you enjoy after your workout may not be as healthy as you think.
One large (32-oz.) Gatorade contains a whopping 54.4 grams of sugar, which puts you over the recommended limit in one fell swoop. Even the “normal” 20-oz. bottles contains 34 grams of sugar, so you might be getting back a pretty sizeable chunk of the calories you just burned off.
To rehydrate after a workout, you’re better off drinking water, coconut water (which is high in potassium, an important electrolyte), or even making your own post-workout drink.
A half-pint of ice cream
Sorry Ben & Jerry’s lovers: Just half of one of those cute little cartons maxes you out on your sugar budget for the day! Just half a carton of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough flavor has 52 grams of sugar.
Plus, it contains all of the saturated fat content the FDA says you should eat in a day. You might want to scoop out a smaller portion.
Okay, we all know donuts are bad for us, but just how bad are they? Well, a typical glazed Dunkin’ donut has 12 grams of sugar, so you’d have to eat more than four to hit your 50-gram sugar limit.
While that might seem reasonable, keep in mind that other pastries back far more sugar: A single Krispy Kreme iced custard donut, for example, has 19 grams. Sugary foods like donuts also cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, making them a poor choice for breakfast.