How do we know how much added sugar to consume and stay healthy?
Added Sugars (those consisting of additive sugars, in the form of syrups, sugars, sweeteners, molasses, cane juice, honey, fruit juice concentrate, any ingredient ending with “ose” such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose, and many forms of additive sugars).
The recommended total energy intake from ADDED sugar varies depending on the organization according to a scientific article published in Nutrients:
Wow. That’s really freaking confusing.
These organizations state that the recommended consumption should be between the ranges of <5% – <25%. There’s over 20% margin of error for these discrepancies.
So, what is the right amount?
Here’s where the discrepancy comes from:
It depends on your body’s needs.
The recommended added sugar intake to consume is based on activity levels, age, and so many other categories.
Are you bed-ridden after a day of sitting at a desk job?
Are you a 70-year old marathon runner constantly eating Snickers bars?
You can calculate your energy needs here:
Total Energy Intake Calculator
This tool isn’t perfect because it doesn’t recognize breathing, fidgeting, walking from your bed to your fridge, or doing a single push-up. However, it should give a general overview to how much you should consume.
I can guarantee that an active Joe can consume more sugar than a lazy Joe, unless Joe is a diabetic.
Comparing both of them, active Joe can consume <15% sugar while lazy Joe can only consume <5% sugar to stay healthy.
Are fruit sugars the same as added sugars?
Fruit sugars take on the form of “fructose” which are still harmful for you in congestion with large increments. However, fruits (if not dry) contain less sugar by volume than many alternative snacks such as cake. Rather, they hold a heavy volume of water, many essential vitamins, antioxidants, and fibers that aid with digestion. Granted, you shouldn’t mix cake and 3 oranges, 2 apples, and 60 strawberries, but making fruit the most of your total sugar intake can minimize risks with insulin spikes.
Therefore, if you are looking at WHO’s conditional recommendation for total sugar intake (5%), then you shouldn’t include fruit sugars as added sugars. However, if you are an active Joe looking at 15% of your total sugar intake and make 10% of it based on fruit sugars, and 5% of it based on other sugars, then you would still be eating healthy.
Table 1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425178/
Fructose – Safe Amounts:
Fruit Sugar (Fructose) vs Glucose Spikes: