Calculate Your Daily Sugar Intake: An Example

To really see how much hidden added sugars we eat in our everyday diet we have to measure out how much sugar is in each part of our meals. Once we have worked out how much sugar we eat in each meal we can make a decent guess at our daily sugar intake.

Sugar Lips

So let’s look at a typical daily diet and work out how much sugar is consumed in a day.

A few notes before we begin, these calculations are not perfect by any means but I am working with what I have and there is a rounding down for the smaller amounts. This meal plan also takes into account that this person did not have time to cook their own dinner but decided to eat out. This may not be typical or average of everyone but for some it is.

To really know what YOU eat, you will need to do this calculation for your daily meal.

Let’s see how much sugar is being consumed!

BREAKFAST

Orange Juice (1 cup) – 28g / 7 teaspoons
Raisin Bran (1 cup) – 20g / 5 teaspoons
Low Fat Milk (1/2 cup) – 6g / 1 teaspoon

MID MORNING SNACK

Blueberry yogurt (1 cup) – 24g / 6 teaspoons

LUNCH

Apple Juice (1 cup) – 40g / 10 teaspoons
Cheese Sandwich – 6g / 1 teaspoon
Peach – 9g / 2 teaspoons

MID AFTERNOON SNACK

Frozen Yogurt Smoothie – 94g / 23 teaspoons

DINNER

Pizza – 4g / 1 teaspoon
Orange Soda – 52g / 13 teaspoons

Total Sugars for the day: 283g / 69 teaspoons / 1 1/3 Cups

By looking at my meal plan for the day you can easily find areas to improve upon.

  • Removing the orange juice and apple juice from the diet completely. Fruit juice provides only a fructose hit to your body but doesn’t include the nutritious fiber of the flesh of the fruit. You could eat an orange and apple and it would be much better for you than just the juice alone.
  • By having a glass of iced water with the squeeze of orange with dinner instead of a orange soda is a huge reduction in the amount of sugar consumed for the day.
  • Another reduction could be sub out the blueberry yogurt and have a handful of blueberries and almonds. You would get the burst of sweetness from the fruit and the healthy fats from the almonds to fill you up for a snack.
  • I found when I was first beginning to quit sugar and reassess my diet that by making a food journal for one day and working out the sugar in each part of my meals opened my eyes to the hidden sugars I was consuming.

This really is a great way to begin the steps to quitting sugar and lowering your daily sugar and breaking the habit!

Have you taken the time to take a lot at how much sugar you are consuming in an average day?

Simplicious

Comments

  1. I have been keeping track for the last few days using the my fitness pal app, turns out I have been eating around 40 grams a day while eating pretty healthily mostly from a couple of pieces of fruit or vegetables and some natural yoghurt. What I was concerned about was the percentage of fat in my diet. almost 50%! However I am still losing weight and am not eating trans fats so I guess it’s ok? Have other people seen such an increase in their macros after quitting sugar?

    • Hi Karyn,

      I didn’t keep a very strict track of my diet – I do have FitnessPal on my phone and I know I should use it more! I did a quick research into what other people are saying on the FitnessPal website and most people did say that their fat macro was higher, but they knew the intake of fat was not in saturated fats and came mainly from nuts, avocados etc.

      Here are the two main links I found that might help you feel better about your numbers:
      http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/826550-constistently-over-on-fat-macro
      http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/805793-i-m-going-over-in-my-fat-macros-but

      I wouldn’t worry too much, you’re still hitting your targets and your food intake sounds like whole food then you should be very proud of yourself!!

      • Fat doesn’t make you fat! Your body recognizes fat and will let you know it’s had enough. Your body does not recognize fructose though so it will not trigger your appetite control and tell you to stop…. In fact it will raise the dopamine levels in your brain which will tell you “that was good, give me more!” Over time your appetite will balance itself out and you will find you will only eat until you have had enough. Yes you can be careful as to what fats you eat if you like but fructose is your major concern.

  2. Those figures are… astonishing. For the most part, all my food is homemade (with the exception of maybe a store-bought pizza every couple of weeks) and my drink of choice is Volvic with a Hint of Strawberry (sugar free, of course – the one with the blue cap), although I will go for a glass or two of grapefruit juice if I’m out – I like my drinks sour enough to turn your face inside out.

    However, my main falling-down point is tea – I’ve always had tea with two sugars, and there’s literally no sweetener in the world that compares. I can’t stand coffee, and fruit tea, green tea, chai tea… as far as I’m concerned, they’re all synonyms for ‘hot water with some colour’.

    However I’ve recently discovered something called Tagatose. Apparently it’s chemically almost identical to sugar, with 92% of the sweetness and, crucially, 38% of the calorific impact. And it can be caramelized! I’m currently awaiting a bag from NuNaturals.

    With all of this in mind, I don’t know if you’re aware of the recent WHO consultation on sugar intake? Their current recommendation is to effectively halve the recommended sugar intake from 10% to 5% (in terms of total calories), which is 25g, or around 6 teaspoons. Given the amount of sugar that is *literally* hiding in everything, how much of a challenge do you think this presents?

    This probably should have been an email :/

    • Hi Lawrie,

      Your comment on sour drinks!!! LOL I love a good sour drink – soda water with a big dose of lime juice on a hot day is bliss!

      I must admit, I did have to change how I drank my tea (as well my coffee!) I was a white with one kind of girl, and weened myself off of this by putting a little less and a little less in it. Now when I drink tea with sugar, I cannot stand the taste! Give me a nice cup of black tea with milk and I a happy camper!

      I have never heard of Tagatose, so I looked it up on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagatose) and it sounds interesting. Not sure I have actively seen it in any products I am buying, but I will keep an eye out for it.

      I think it is a huge challenge for people to watch the amount of sugar we eat if we are consistantly buying all our pre-processed from the shops. You are absolutely right by eating food that is homemade as a way to make sure you know what you are consuming. I never use to really make a lot of my food, I bought a lot of things pre processed to save time and effort and clearly, as we all know now, that meant I was consuming a lot of unknowns and in varying amounts.

      Cooking your own food is the best way to get back in touch with how much you eat and more importantly, WHAT you are actually eating. You can really monitor how many grams of sugar you are eating and try to stick to the recommended amount. Maybe we should have the 80:20 rule, that we eat homemade food 80% of the time and 20% of the time we can forgive ourselves and eat at restaurants – that could be the best of both worlds!

      • I’d never heard of Tagatose either before this week, and certainly availability seems to be sparse in this country. I picked up on it when reading an article about sugar consumption, and it very briefly mentioned a professor who has been trying to advocate the use of Tagatose as a sweetener for years.

        Anyway, I’ve ordered a bag, and now I’m going to set myself a challenge: ZERO CALORIE CAKE. I’ve never baked before in my life, but if a guy with absolutely no artistic experience can paint a Vermeer (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3089388/), then I can bake a cake that is better for you than celery.

      • No sugar Mama says:

        Let me start of with this…I recently (on tuesday 5 12 2015) saw an endo for my 2 year old daughter due to my family history of diabetes and its a strong on. We saw Dr. Lustig. He is a leader in his field wrote fat chance and was in Fed up (an eye opening docutmetary) a must watch as well. And we saw his Nutritionalist as well Luis both are amazing and learned artifial sugars are worse for you than real sugar (both are a poison to your body) Artifical sugars leave a coating on your tongue that leaves you to continue to crave sugars. If memory serves he recomends NO MORE than 4 teasoopns per day yes per day thats 3 meals and what ever snacks you eat. NO artifical sugars natural sugars that you would find in real fruit not preservatives or canned fruits. They have natural fiber that counteracts their natural sugars causing your body to break it down slower hence you get less of a sugar spike. Fruits and veggies should be half your plate then 1.4 proteins and 1/4 startches. This is very different than what i learned in school. I hate the triangle it makes no sense so he broke it down in a circle (like a baby segragated plate with the 3 “openings”) and it just clicked. Good luck to you on your journey.

  3. Holy wow, I just did this as I’ve been preparing my brain to begin the 8-week detox. 86 grams EIGHTY SIX GRAMS OF SUGAR!!!! Toast, jam and juice for breakfast, yogurt with honey and nuts at lunch with lunch meat and cheese, pasta bolognese for dinner — snacks of dark chocolate and almonds, banana, granola bar, small scoop of ice cream for dessert. I’m about to fall over. What an eye-opening exercise.

    What is your take on how to go forward with reviewing the total sugar intake, the added vs. intrinsic sugar intake, once the detox period is done?

    Thanks so much for being another resource for people looking to kick the habit.

    • Hi Tara,

      It is eye-opening when you do some quick calculations!!!

      Moving forward after the detox, I really rely on common sense. Don’t add sugar to things, be aware that most things that I did not make could contain sugar, in amounts I am not able to control, avoid sugary drinks such as juice and soda since it is not at all beneficial and an easy win to avoid. Make sure you eat more fat then carbs (I am a bread lover so I try to avoid bread as much as I can possibly – I am far from perfect!).

      You have to be realistic though, you can’t control everything so you need to allow yourself the ability to let go some of the time. You can’t control what your friends cook in their dinner or if you are at restaurants. Just make the best decisions you can in the moment and when you are in charge of your food make sure you keep it clean.

      You are doing all the right things by just looking at what you are eating and being aware. So much of what we put in our mouths tend to be mindless and just bad habits.

      You go for it Tara!!! We are all here if you need us!!

  4. Hi Kate,
    I’ve had a very good month getting the whole family (including teenage kids) to cut their sugar intake. I should think we are down by at least a third if not half. We are eating much more healthily, but I want to get really serious now and get right down to those recommended low figures. I need to get better at the calculating bit. However I see that you are recommending keeping the carbs down and eating more fat. Part of my success so far has been including lots of whole grain carbs to fill everyone up and then nobody misses the cakes and puds. I’m guessing this is more acceptable for the growing youngsters than it is for me. Can you elaborate a little more for me please?
    Many thanks,
    Cx

    • Hi Caroline,

      I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist…. more importantly, I don’t have children! I assume a nice well rounded whole food diet is best for children, especially to help them learn to love foods of all kinds so they enjoy a large palette of food. I would recommend work on what you are dong and make sure you kids are well fed, healthy and happy! As for adults, monitor your intake of carbs and see how you feel. For me, I tend to feel tired if I eat a lot of bread so I tend to steer away from it, even though I love it.

  5. Hi there. The ‘wellness warrior’ links on your page are sadly no longer active, just thought I would let you know.

    • Hi Emma,
      I am sorry I missed this. It is terribly sad news, Jess was a fighter and an inspiration. I have taken down her ads, but her website still live if anyone wants more information.

  6. can i ask what your veiw’s on quarn are? xx

    • Hi Kirsty,
      I assume you mean quorn, the protein replacement product. I must admit I have never had it before, but have seen it in the supermarkets. According to Wiki Quorn has 0.6g per 100grams so it would be suitable to use. As for reipes or ideas, I would say google around or go to the quorn website and see if they have anything that you like.
      As for vegetarian and low sugar, I would recommend finding your favorite recipes and adjusting to sugar free or low sugar. That is the only way you will find what you like – experiment! I would steer away from any new recipes books and just look on blogs and other people’s recipes who have done low sugar and vegetarian and try what they post up. It may be easier to find things you enjoy!

  7. I ‘ve cut down on sugar. I feel great and slimmer. Robert Lustig and his team say ‘Eat Real Food’. Also read David Gallespie’s Sweet Poison and the Sweet Poison Quit Plan. An excellent help to cutting down on sugar (fructose) and understanding why.