Healh experts have been nudging Americans to kick the sugar habit for years, and now it’s official: The Food and Drug Administration is recommending a daily cap on sugar for the first time.
The goal is for Americans to limit added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories, according to the proposed guidelines. For someone older than 3, that means eating no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, of it a day.
The World Health Organization endorses a 10 percent cap on sugars, excluding those in fresh fruits, vegetables and milk, and urges people to aim even lower, limiting sugars to 5 percent of caloric intake to derive greater health benefits.
The American Heart Association also recommends stricter sugar limits, saying women should consume only about 100 calories a day in added sugars — about six teaspoons — and men no more than 150 calories, or nine teaspoons. The F.D.A. is recommending that children 1 to 3 should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar a day.
Roni Caryn Rabin,
The Basic: One gram of sugar has 4 calories.
(Reputable sources actually range from 3.87 calories to 4.2 calories; using 4 calories per gram of sugar will adequately serve our purpose here.)
In the U.S. on the food container/package/can/etc. the "Nutrition Facts" label includes "Servings Per Container" and "Sugars" by grams per serving.
The math is simple and straightforward:
Sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = sugar calories per serving.
Sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x servings per container = sugar calories per container.
Example: an 11.5 fl. oz. can of V8 vegetable juice has 1 serving per container and 9 grams of sugar per serving.
9 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = 36 sugar calories per serving.
9 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x 1 serving per container = 36 sugar calories per can.
Example: a 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes has 3.5 servings per container and 5 grams of sugar per serving.
5 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = 20 sugar calories per meager serving.
5 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x 3.5 servings per container = 70 sugar calories per can.
Example: a 6 oz. container of low-fat mango yogurt has 1 serving per container and 31 grams of sugar per serving.
31 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = 124 sugar calories per serving.
31 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x 1 serving per container = 124 sugar calories per container. That's 20⅔ sugar calories per ounce!
Example: a 15.25 oz. can of pineapple slices has 4 servings per container and 14 grams of sugar per serving.
14 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = 56 sugar calories per serving.
14 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x 4 servings per container = 224 sugar calories per can.
Example: a 28 oz. bottle of barbecue sauce has "approximately" 21 servings per container and 16 grams of sugar per serving.
16 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories = 64 sugar calories per serving.
16 sugar grams per serving x 4 calories x 21 servings per container = 1,344 sugar calories per bottle.
By the way, a gram of protein also has 4 calories. The Nutrition Facts label lists protein grams separately; to compute protein calories the procedure is the same as above.
Here's a short, informative webpage about sugar by Meg Campbell:
And for those who still prefer teaspoons, 4 sugar grams = one teaspoon = 16 sugar calories.
I really hope this helps.