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How much sugar should I get?

Every now and again, I look at the sugar content of foods and drinks, but since there's no percentage on the label, I don't really know how to put it in perspective. As a healthy 30-year-old female, what would be a good amount of sugar to consume in a day?

Thu. Dec 15, 8:39am

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Why do you ask?

Optimally, none. But unless we're off living on an ashram somewhere that doesn't really help a modern girl now, does it?

Why you are asking might help with an answer?

Though, for trying to lose weight, sugary food/drinks sure deliver a lot of calories without much nutritive value. I'd rather eat my calories than drink them. My personal choice is that I never drink soda or juice, I use splenda to sweeten coffee or oatmeal and I use sf/ff pudding mix to flavor ff plain yogurt (the splenda and pudding mix sure are all chemicals, so I try to use is moderation). Then I don't worry about the sugar in otherwise (reasonably) healthy products like yogurts or kashi bars. I buy high quality dark chocolate that tends to have lower sugar content than other brands, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 9:46 AM

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splenda and sugar substitues are horrible for you. While they might help you lose weight, there are chemicals that are potentially harmful. I'm unsure of why people still continue to use this stuff.

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 11:43 AM

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something you'll want to remember is that those chemicals are just as bad for your body as some of the sugars you're trying to avoid, as we really weren't meant to process things like that in our digestive system. A good evaporated cane juice like Sucanat will have the sweetening power of sugar without all the chemical processing. Natural sweeteners like a good local honey have lots of added benefits, like helping with allergies. For yogurt, a good fruit-sweetened jam or preserves is a good flavoring, and for other things there are concentrated fruit sweeteners available, or you can make your own with juice concentrates. My favorite is maple syrup, because it's got such a great flavor. If you go to a natural foods store, you can get tons of packaged foods that use honey, fruit sweetener, or grain-based sweeteners like barley or brown rice malt. These sweeteners often add a great flavor to the foods they're in as well, more complex than plain sugar.

Granted, it's near impossible to avoid sugar altogether, but we can make informed, healthy choices. Personally, I've decided to pick my battles and I'm willing to sacrifice the calories i'd save with the chemicals in favor of what I consider a healthier diet overall.

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 11:50 AM

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Great tips

I second the above (and got some info for myself too, so thanks), but you also want to remember that white starches (bread, chips, etc) convert to simple sugar very easily and give you a temporary high followed by an evil crash afterwards that makes you crave more of the white starchy stuff. (oooh, FRENCH
Also, a lot of the packaged foods that are white carbs also have MSG, which also makes you eat more and crave more of the food. I mean, really! What the heck is a Cheeto?
Good luck!

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 12:40 PM

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OP here...

I really appreciate everyone's comments! I have avoided sodas for over a year now (hooray!) and eat pretty healthfully. I guess I'm mostly wondering, when I do occasionally go for a packaged snack, what number of grams of sugar should I see as my max? I just don't know how 20 grams of sugar in a candy bar compares to anything else... I do tend to eat good amounts of healthy food, especially fruits and veggies, so I'm not going to significantly change my diet based on the answer, but may change my occasional big peppermint patty snack to something else if I realize it's way out of proportion!...
Thanks again.

Thursday, December 15, 2005, 3:05 PM

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rather than checking for sugar grams, check for sugar. NOT sucralose, apsartame, glucose fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, or any other chemically altered sugars. Most artificial sweetners also act as metabolic inhibitors- why would anyone trying to lose wieght want to slow their metabolism?

Friday, December 16, 2005, 1:00 PM

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I would be very interested in some formal guidelines about the original question. How much sugar, in grams can I take in. What are the effects? Will exercise counteract sugar intake?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 11:11 PM

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11:11 poster...let's see...sugar = calories in, exercise = calories out.
It's pretty straightforward.
Additional effects = insulin spiking, which creates a very real-feeling false hunger an hour after you eat if your choices are simple sugars (no fiber) and unaccompanied by protein (keeps you going after the sugar is processed).

For the others who can't envision the impact of 20g sugar in a candy bar, get out your spoons. Fill 4 teaspoons with sugar - that's what 20g of straight-up sugar looks like. Kinda makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it...maybe I should keep that visual lying around my kitchen at all times!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 12:14 AM

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Now, is someone asking, "How much should I eat?" really asking for a treatise on the evils of sugar and/or aspartame, or some practical examples?

If looking for a rule, the USDA guideline is "use sparingly." There is no RDA for sugar.

Assuming that practical examples are more useful, it's good to join groups with some other members who are both logging and losing. What do thin people eat? I was curious about how much sweet stuff I have in a day (I'm at my goal weight.) so I looked back, and here's what I found in a typical day:

- sugar to sweeten oatmeal (<1 tsp.)
- 1 or 2 pieces of fruit -- usually a banana and dried plums, but sometimes berries or cherries or pear
- a Diet Coke (aspartame)
- a chocolate-flavored protein bar (maltitol)
If a real homemade cookie presents itself at work, which happens once every couple of weeks, I will eat it.

I have been a very successful loser without giving up my beloved Diet Coke. OTOH, I never was a big candy bar eater -- my vices are bread and cheese.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006, 12:37 AM

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