If you are trying to lose weight, or if you are diabetic, or suffering from high blood pressure, thyroid or kidney problems, then measuring your daily sugar intake is essential. Your body needs sugar, but up to a certain amount, which is much less than the quantity that you may be consuming every day. Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition states that the daily intake of sugar must be less than 5% of the total energy intake. Today in this post, we are going to learn about the daily sugar intake for weight loss and we’ll also try and understand how to check sugar intake.
According to American Heart Association (AHA), children aged 4 to 6 years should have no more than 19 gm or 5 teaspoons of sugar per day. Children aged 6 to 10 years should have no more than 24 gm or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. Children aged 11 years and the adults should have no more than 30 gm or 7 teaspoons of sugar per day.
When we refer to sugar, we must know the varieties of sugar available. Sugar can be classified in two distinct categories, such as:
- Free Sugars: These are the artificial or the added sugars, such as syrups, fruit juices, fruit juice concentrates etc.
- Natural sugars: These are the naturally occurring sugars like fruits, milk, vegetables etc.
Your body will react to both these kinds of sugars in not much different ways. If you are diabetic, or trying to lose weight, then checking the sugar intake is highly essential, and that refers to limiting both the natural and the added sugar.
Rania Batayneh, famous nutritionist and author of “The One One One Diet” says
that both these kinds of sugars will be ultimately broken down into glucose and fructose and will be released in the blood. She says that, there is a difference in their rates of being broken down. "Because the sugar in fruits is paired with fiber and water, it’s released much more slowly into your body, providing you with a consistent stream of energy," Batayneh says. "Added sugar, without fiber and water, is broken down immediately, leading to a surge in insulin and blood sugar levels. As a result, you don’t feel full at all—you just crave more sugar."
Sugar intake for weight loss
World Health Organization has recommended, “people obtain no more than 5% of daily calories from added sugar. That’s about 6 teaspoons or 25 grams on a typical diet”. UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and USDA suggested limit of 10% of calories as added sugar.
According to American Heart Association, men can have 150 calories per day, which is approx 9 teaspoons, and women can have 100 calories per day, which is approx 6 teaspoons.
In case if you are overweight, or obese, or suffering from diseases like Diabetes, then it’s better to avoid sugar completely. Avoid sugar as much as possible.
It is better to avoid the foods that contain sugar, natural foods like mangoes and grapes, processed foods, baked cakes, soft drinks; all these are rich in sugar content. Stick to the measurements given above if you want to control the sugar intake in your daily life.
Simple ways to reduce sugar intake for weight loss
If you want to stay within the limits, if you want to check the daily sugar intake then there are some habits that you have to start. Eating outside, having cheat meals frequently will not help you in weight loss. The simple activities mentioned below will help you to lose a considerable amount of weight within a short period of time.
- Prepare homemade food.
- Have double toned or skimmed milk.
- Do not buy packaged fruit juice, instead make juice at home.
- Avoid candies, cookies and sweets.
- Instead of sugar, you can use natural sweetness like honey.
- You can use yogurt or curd instead of white cream
- Use diet sugar or sugar free that is available in market.
- Do not buy the packaged readymade foods.
- Avoid sugar where you do not need to have sweet, like in curries, green tea, coffee etc. These are some of the beverages and dishes where you can avoid adding sugar.
- Dark chocolate is better than milk chocolates
How much of natural sugar you should eat daily to lose weight?
As I mentioned earlier, natural sugar refers to the natural or organic resources which contain sugar. There are many fruits like grapes, apples, sugar cane, oranges and banana that contain plenty of natural sugar along with other nutrients and Vitamins. Honey is another source of sweetener, but it is not harmful as sugar. You can have these fruits, and also honey in your daily diet. Fruits have several health benefits; they take care of all the bodily functions.
Glucose is important for your body too, and to encounter the glucose, there is insulin which is naturally produced by the pancreas in your body. In case the insulin production is not enough for the high level of glucose, then this can lead to several diseases like diabetes. The foods with natural sugar are as follows:
You must be wondering what kind of daily diet you must follow to check the sugar intake. In order to lose weight, it is essential that you avoid sugar as much as possible.
But that does not mean you have to eat bitter tasteless foods during the course of your weight loss regime. If you are having a glass of milk coffee with creams, cereals, milk, canned fruit juice etc then you are consuming heavy sugar. You have to eat in a way by which you can limit the intake of sugar. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss the daily meals in details.
Breakfast: Swap the above mentioned breakfast with the new one. Instead of canned fruit juice, make the juice with fresh fruits in your juicer. Do not add extra sugar while making fruit juice. Use skimmed milk with cereals or oats. If you want to have something sweet, then mix fruits like berries, apples in your cereals or oats. You will like the new kind of sweet dish. If you are having green tea, then prefer the honey lemon flavor, this way you can avoid eating extra sugar. While having coffee, you can avoid the creams and add one or two globules of sugar free.
Lunch: During lunch, do not go for the canteen food, or do not go to eat outside daily. Bring lunch from home, be it rice or chapatti, be it fish or chicken, there is nothing like home food. Skip having the dessert or the sweet dish more often.
Afternoon snacks: You are not actually hungry but you want to munch something. Instead of the sweet biscuits and cookies, grab some healthy nuts like almonds and walnuts. Sprinkle some salt on them and enjoy munching them. The nuts are very nutritious and are a great source of energy.
Dinner: You can have some soups and mixed salads for your dinner. Again, here too, you can avoid the desserts. You can have a glass of skimmed milk before going to bed, milk helps in getting better sleep.
In the above meal chart, the use of artificial or added sugar is too low. You are not having any food items with high sugar content. You can easily check the sugar intake with the above meal plan. Even if your sugar level is normal, you can start checking the sugar intake from now. This way you can maintain a healthy weight, but you do not have starve for reaching your fitness goal. You can eat right and then check your weight.
Healthy sugar intake for weight loss
When we are talking about the “healthy sugar”, we mean the natural sugar. As I have mentioned in the previous lines, the natural sugars are present in the fruits, vegetables and all other various kinds of natural resources. In your weight loss program, you can include the healthy sugar, but in a limited quantity though.
If you are overweight, then having grapes and mangoes in large quantities can be harmful as these fruits contain huge percentages of sugar. On the other hand, if you are having fruits like water melons and cucumber, then you can get the taste and also avoid the unwanted sugar content.
Melons and cucumber have water content in them, and the sugar content is much lower. They can be tasty and healthy snack for you. Likewise, there are few simple steps that you can take if you opt for healthy sugar intake during your weight loss regime.
Sprinkle some cinnamon
According to a study published in Journal of Medicinal Food, concluded that cinnamon can help in lowering the amount of sugar in your blood after you have not eaten for a long time. With high sugar content in blood, your body can be resistant to insulin, thus giving rise to various health issues. You can use some cinnamon powder for adding taste to your food.
Sugar only before workouts
If you are having a sweet tooth and crave for some sugary foods, then grab it only before workouts. Workouts and physical exercises can burn the extra calories and sugar will boost your energy. You will be needing a lot of energies for the workouts. So, if you are having a white bread or pasta with high sugar content, then grab it just before hitting the gym. This way you can enjoy your sugary foods but not get fat.
Natural sugars preferred
Fruits and vegetables also have sugar in them, along with several other nutrients, minerals, proteins, vitamins, fiber etc. This way you can get innumerable benefits by these foods even though they have sugar in them. The natural sugars are converted into energies easily, the fruits and vegetables are easily digested, and you will feel fuller for longer hours.
Enjoy plain oats with sweet fruits
Instead of the flavored oats that are available in the market, you can eat the plain oats. Flavored foods often have high percentages of added sugars, syrups, preservatives which are harmful for you. So, the plain oats is preferable. If you want to add a sweet taste to the oats, then you can add some fruits of your choice. The fruits like apples, bananas are just perfect for a breakfast.
Sugar content in your foods and drinks
Sugars are added in your foods and drinks to make them sweet and also to preserve their natural taste. Foods like cakes, cookies, biscuits will have high sugar content also in soft drinks, sweets, candies, chocolates etc. In many readymade foods you will find high sugar contents like the fruit juices available in the market.
Even if the packets of the fruit juices will claim that they are 100% natural, they are not. Sugar content is very high in them, so it is advisable that you prepare the fruit juices at home. You must see the label before buying the product. The content of the ingredients is given in descending order; the product with high sugar content is at first, and the lowest at the last.
How sugar may affect your health
Sugars can satisfy your taste buds, but they cannot satisfy your hunger. Sugar items can give you calories without nutrients. You will consume calories, but you will not feel full. You will go on eating sugars and thus become obese and overweight .
You will include more sugars in your system, and the surge of insulin will be increased too. If the sugar content is high, then there are chances that the insulin production will be lower than the glucose level, and risk of diabetes will increase. High sugar level in blood can cause heart blockage, kidney failure, brain problems etc.
Over to you
Your body needs sugar, no doubt in that, but the quantity must be limited. Once you reach obesity, or catch the disease Diabetes or diabetes mellitus, you will have to depend on medicines for the rest of the life. Healthy sugar intake is the first step that you can take to reach your fitness goal.
Weight loss can help you in getting rid of several diseases like cardiovascular problems. Sugar intake can be limited if you are following the above tips, avoiding soft drinks, cold drinks is the best way to start taking care of your health.
Are you measuring your daily intake of sugar? How do you ensure you are not consuming plenty of it?
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.