Added sugars and daily limits

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Daily added sugar limits for men, women, teens, and children, as represented in teaspoons

Sugars are a type of carbohydrate that occurs naturally or that is added to a food.

Foods such as milk and fruits have naturally occurring sugars. The sugar in fruit is called fructose. The sugar in milk and yogurt is called lactose.

Added sugars are sugars that do not occur naturally in a food or drink but are added during processing or preparation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans strongly recommend you limit foods and drinks that contain added sugars.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that:

  • Most men have no more than 150 calories a day from added sugars, or about 9 teaspoons (36 g).
  • Most women, teens, and children over 2 years of age have no more than 100 calories a day from added sugars, or about 6 teaspoons (25 g).
  • Children over 2 and teens have less than 8 ounces of sugary drinks in a week.
  • For children younger than 2, all added sugars should be avoided.

As an example, there are 8 to 9 teaspoons (32 to 36 g) of added sugars in a 12-ounce can of soda. And there about 8 teaspoons (32 g) of added sugar in some snack bars.

Current as of: September 20, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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