Sugar in Moderation

You’ve heard that sugar moderation is key to healthy eating. Yet, sugars seem to be added to a lot of foods and beverages, so how can you moderate it? The answer lies in understanding the amount of sugar present in these foods.

Hear from an expertLara Field, R.D., answers the question: How do I moderate all added sugars in my diet?

Moderating Sugars in a Balanced Diet

Eating healthy and moderating your total sugar intake can be simpler than you think—especially with tools such as myplate.gov. Using MyPlate guidelines, the infographic below takes a standard diet and breaks down where total sugars fit in a balanced diet.

HOW ADDED SUGARS CAN FIT INTO A HEALTHY DIET

Discover the role that added sugars play in a healthy daily diet and see how you can consume them in moderation.

We all want to eat a healthy diet, but often worry about where added sugars fit into it and how to keep track of them. Added sugars- such as table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc. - all contain calories, but they can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation.

Using the USDA's Food Tracker tool, an example of a full day of meals is shown below that fits the MyPlate dietary guidelines. These meals highlight food group portions, total calories and amount of empty calories to give you an idea of how to eat within a balanced, healthy diet.

Click on a meal to see the calories and added sugars in it.

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  • BREAKFAST
  • MORNING SNACK
  • LUNCH
  • AFTERNOON SNACK
  • DINNER
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Total Meal Calories 336
  • Total Meal Calories 95
  • Total Meal Calories 659
  • Total Meal Calories 254
  • Total Meal Calories 636
 
 

1 Cup Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk

228 cal

Total Calories

48 cal

Added Sugars

0 cal

Solid Fats

Turkey sandwich with low fat cheese, mayo and spinach

411 cal

Total Calories

8 cal

Added Sugars

31 cal

Solid Fats

16 oz fruit smoothie with skim milk

254 cal

Total Calories

78 cal

Added Sugars

0 cal

Solid Fats

1 cup whole wheat pasta with meat & vegetable sauce

431 cal

Total Calories

1 cal

Added Sugars

54 cal

Solid Fats

 

1.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), "Names for added sugars that appear on food label ingredient lists include agave nectar, brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar, and syrup."

NOTE:

The numbers above are based on a 2000 calorie limit diet with an empty calories limit of 258 calories and do not take into account exercise or other calorie-expenditure activities. Empty calories can include added sugars and solid fats. The numbers are shown as examples only and you should consult your doctor to determine your specific calorie and added sugars limit based on your lifestyle.

Embed Infographic

 


America’s Sweet Tooth

While limited amounts of sugar in the diet are fine, statistics show that we are consuming more sugar every year while expending less energy to burn the extra calories.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that calories in American’s diet increased from 2,064 per day in 1970 to 2,538 per day in 2010 – an additional 474 calories.[1] This increase includes 243 calories from added fats and 181 calories from flour and cereal products while added sugars accounted for 35 calories.

 

Don’t Forget!

Eating sugar in moderation can be a healthy part of your diet.  The USDA advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.  Keep these daily values in mind and be aware of the amount of sugar and additional calories you are eating to avoid potential health problems. 

"Sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter what kind of sugar it is. It’s quantity that’s the problem.”
Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics



[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. 2013. Calories: average daily per capita calories from the U.S. food supply, adjusted for spoilage and other waste. Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data.