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Sugar — how much is too much?
Monday, 21 September · 2 min read

Sugar is found in a wide range of foods, from soft drinks and juices to cakes and salad dressing.

It can be eaten in moderation, but too much sugar can cause tooth decay and weight gain, which increases your risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

But how much sugar is too much? It depends on the type of sugar you’re eating.

Experts recommend you limit the amount of ‘free sugars’ you eat. This is sugar that's added to food and drinks like chocolate, flavoured yoghurt and cola, as well as natural sugars found in honey and fruit juice.

But the sugars found in whole fruit, vegetables and milk — sometimes called ‘intrinsic sugars’— don’t count. This is because it usually takes longer to digest these foods, so the sugar doesn’t reach your bloodstream as quickly.

So how much can you eat? On average:

  • women should eat no more than 20g (5 teaspoons) of free sugars per day
  • men should aim for no more than 30g (roughly 7 teaspoons)

But the amount of energy your body needs also depends on your age, weight and how active you are. As a general rule, free sugars should make up no more than 5% of the calories you eat and drink each day.

If you'd like to eat less sugar, try swapping foods high in sugar for healthier alternatives. For example, you could have porridge instead of sugary breakfast cereal.

Quote of the day

From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.

Catalan Proverb

Quick Quiz
Which of these foods contain the most sugar?