The Canadian Sugar Institute estimates that every day, Canadians consume about 16 teaspoons, or more than one third of a cup, of added sugar (meaning the sugars in our diet that don’t occur naturally as they do in fruit, vegetables and dairy). Sugar is not all bad, of course: It’s a source of carbohydrates, which the body needs to produce energy, says Carol Dombrow, a registered dietitian for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Health Check food information program, aimed at promoting healthy eating. But no sugars’whether white, brown, corn syrup, honey or maple syrup’have any other nutrient value, Dombrow points out. Overeating sugar can lead to tooth decay, and a high-cal diet’which may include lots of sugar’could cause your waistline to balloon, which can lead to health issues such as type 2 diabetes.
If you’re trying to cut back on your sugar intake, keep your eye on packaged foods‘some products contain more sweet stuff than you think.
To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar are in a product:
‘ Check the nutrition label where sugars are listed in grams under total carbohydrates.
‘ Divide that number by 4 to convert to teaspoons (because each teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams).
‘ If sugars are listed as 12 g per serving, for example, that’s 3 teaspoons per serving.
For lower-sugar alternatives to packaged foods, click here.