Sugar is found in a variety of forms but can typically be classified into one of two categories: natural or added sugars.
- Natural sugars – found in foods like fruit (in the form of fructose) and dairy (in the form of lactose)
- Added sugars – added to food during processing or for the purpose of sweetening our foods
Sources of added sugars include honey, brown sugar, turbinado, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, other syrups, raw sugar, agave and glucose (including other sweeteners ending in “ose”), for a few examples.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to a maximum of 24 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for women or a maximum of 36 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar per day for men.
There are currently no recommended restrictions on natural sugars. Unfortunately, labeling requirements don’t currently show only “added” sugars on the label. By looking at the amount of sugar per serving on the Nutrition Facts panel as well as the ingredients list, you can determine what sources of sugar are in your foods.
The best way to limit added sugar is to limit processed foods, sweetened beverages, dessert items and eating out.
Amanda Turner, RD