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Many times people are eating foods that they have no idea are actually loaded with added sugar, particularly considering the amount of processed and fast foods available everywhere on a daily basis.

Dangers of Too Much Sugar Intake

It’s common knowledge that too much sugar can cause weight gain, cavities, and a myriad of other health problems. Not only that but new research published in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine shows that high sugar consumption can also raise your risk of heart disease. In the study, participants whose sugar intake equaled over a quarter of their daily calories were over two times as likely to die of heart disease-related causes than were those whose consumption was less than ten percent of their caloric intake. This startling statistic held true regardless of sex, weight, activity level, BMI (body mass index), or the healthfulness of the rest of their diet.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume a maximum of six teaspoons of added sugar per day, and men nine teaspoons. To put that number into perspective, nine teaspoons is the equivalent of one twelve ounce can of regular cola. Add in the extra sugar in many other foods people consume daily and it’s clear how easy it is to take in way too much.

What Do the Labels Mean?

In terms of grams to teaspoons, there are four grams to one teaspoon of sugar – so a food whose label says 20 grams of sugar contains about five teaspoons. When a food label lists this number in grams, keep in mind that it includes natural fruit sugars like fructose and milk sugars (lactose), as well as additional sweeteners such as refined sugars or high fructose corn syrup. While added sugars are definitely worse for you than the natural ones contained in foods, the combination of both natural and added sweetener is often what drives the amount up to an alarming level.