FYI Friday – Sugar, Sugar

Last week, I had you figure out how much salt you were eating each day. Today, we are going to talk about sugar.


At the beginning of the month, the World Health Organization came out with a new draft guideline for sugar intake for both adults & children. In the 2002 World Health Guidelines, they advised that added sugar should make up less than 10% of your daily intake. In the newest guidelines, they are suggesting that number be decreased to less than 5%. I should mention, they are describing added sugars here not naturally occurring sugars that you would find in fruit or dairy products. But instead things like sugar, honey, sweetened beverages, candy, cookies, desserts, condiments (like ketchup), etc.

To put those numbers into perspective, that would be about 6 teaspoons of sugar for a person with an average healthy body weight. 1 can of coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, over the recommended daily amount. And I don’t even want to talk about the amount of sugar in my beloved Dairy Queen Blizzards…

Of course, I decided to put myself to the test. I took what I ate yesterday and roughly added up the amount of added sugars that I consumed. Currently, our labels do not distinguish added sugars from naturally occurring sugars so it can be difficult to determine your amount. As I mentioned in my changing food labels post, this is a change to food labels that the U.S. is hoping to adopt and certainly one that I hope Canada follows suit with.



Added Sugar

Homemade Apple Cinnamon Baked Quinoa 0.75 teaspoon
Coffee with 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp


Banana 0 tsp


Romaine Lettuce 0 tsp
1 Tbsp Craisins 0.5 tsp
1 Tbsp Lighthouse Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing 1 tsp
Turkey Butternut Squash Chili 0 tsp


Tangelo 0 tsp
Coffee with ½ tsp sugar 0.5 tsp


Extreme Pita Small Grilled Chicken Wrap with Teriyaki & Tzaitki Sauce 1 tsp
Chocolate Milk 1 Cup 2.5 tsp
1 bag Baked Lays BBQ Chips 1 tsp


8.25 teaspoons

So as you can see, I exceeded the recommended limits of sugars yesterday. I wouldn’t say yesterday was my typical eating pattern because I was out for dinner and had chocolate milk since I was promoting it at the Running Room Chat. But still, I think meeting that guideline of 6g per day is definitely challenging. Particularly for someone like me, who loves chocolate…


How can you reduce your sugar intake?

  • Cut out sugar sweetened beverages – as you can see 1 can of coke already puts you over your daily limit. Stick to water, milk & 100% fruit juice
  • Reduce the sugar you add to beverages such as tea, coffee, etc. A great tip is to use a measuring spoon for your sugar. Each week cut down by 1/4 teaspoon, your body will adapt to the new taste and you can greatly reduce your sugar. If you are going to Starbucks or another coffee shop, start getting your drinks 1/2 sweet or ask for sugar-free syrups.
  • Reduce the amount of candy, desserts, pastries, etc. that you eat in a day. Take a look at the food label and remember that 4g sugar = 1 tsp. Seeing the actual amount might make you think twice before eating.
  • Watch for added sugar in processed foods. Manufacturers add sugars to make food products taste better. Check the food label for sugar amounts and the ingredient list for added sugars. Often sugar isn’t listed as sugar, look for names ending in “ose” (sucrose, dextrose, mannose, etc.), agave syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, molasses, cane crystals, etc.

If you are interested in learning more about the WHO proposed sugar guidelines, they are seeking feedback until March 31. You can check out the information here.

Do you think you could meet the 6 teaspoon per day guideline? What’s your biggest sugar craving?


8 thoughts on “FYI Friday – Sugar, Sugar

    • I love finding Calgary bloggers! I doing the Run for L’Arche half marathon tomorrow, MEC Calgary Race Two 10km, The Jugo Juice 10km (Calgary Marathon), Canmore Half Marathon & Melissa’s Road Race. That’s all so far, but who knows what else I’ll sign up for. How about you?

  1. I’m pretty sure my added sugar would be way over that. I did wean myself off of any sweeteners in my coffee years ago. But I just had a waffle with peanut butter for breakfast and I’m sure there was added sugar in the waffle… (at least the peanut butter was just nuts LOL)

    • Sugar are added to sooo many products. That I think or anyone to meet that guideline would be a real challenge. But that’s also part of the reason for the who recommendations, so they can put pressure on manufacturers to decrease sugar in processed products.

  2. Wow this is nuts !!!! I didn’t realize how little 6 teaspoons is.. like yourself I always add sugar to my coffee, love chocolate, and use a lot of ketchup sometimes !!! And salad dressing and CHIPS ?!?!? I didn’t even realize how much could be in there.. i have it all the time so now I’m curious how much sugar I eat in a day. Very informative post thank you !!!

    • It’s really shocking. That’s why I think it would be such a good idea for the US to go ahead with its plans to put added sugar on the labels. It might make you stop and think a little before eating. I mean, not when it comes to chocolate though. That I’ll just eat anyways…

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