How much sugar is too much?
The World Health Organization has recommended a sharp drop in sugar intake. Just five percent of calories should ideally come from added sugars, the WHO advises; down from ten percent. This translates to about six teaspoons of added sugar a day, or about the amount in one eight-ounce bottle of sweetened lemon iced tea. The average American consumes almost quadruple the WHO recommendation—22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. Watch for these signs you might be eating too much sugar, and then figure out tricks to cut back. Slashing sugar can be tricky because sugar is so ubiquitous—you’ll find it even in healthy-sounding foods like cereal and yogurt. Read ingredient lists and reduce your intake of processed, packaged foods in favor of fresh produce and lean protein. Here are some more easy food swaps that can help reduce your sugar intake.
You’re breaking out more than usual
Eating too much sugar can wreak havoc on your skin. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests a relationship between a high-sugar diet and the severity of acne. Participants with moderate to severe acne reported a higher sugar intake compared with people who had mild or no acne.
You feel totally wiped
If you eat breakfast or lunch packed with sneaky sugar and distinctly lacking in satiating protein, fiber, and fat—say, a jumbo bagel with jelly—you could find yourself stuck in a mean afternoon energy slump. You might develop a pounding headache or an urge to cuddle up in bed. A balanced and nutritious diet prevents your blood sugar from going from a sugary high to a lethargic low. Try these tricks to bounce back from a sugar binge.