How Many Calories Do You Really Need and How Much Sugar Is Hiding in Your Food?

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Do you know how much sugar is too much? Are you trying to lose weight, stay in shape, or simply embrace a healthy diet? Then you need to pay attention to two key aspects: Calories and Sugar. Why are these so important, and what role should they play in your diet? In this article, you will learn how many calories do you really need and how much sugar is hiding in your food and its negative effects on your health.

How Many Calories Do You Really Need and How Much Sugar Is Hiding in Your Food?

The best way to answer these questions is to discuss them separately. Let’s do that right away.

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Fast Guide to Calories – How Many of Them You Need Every Day

Calories are energy units we take from food and drinks and consume in our everyday activities. How many of them we should take in every day depends on several factors:

  • Age – Older people need fewer calories than younger people
  • Gender – Men need more calories than women
  • Body mass index – Overweight people need more calories than fit people
  • Activity level – People with a sedentary lifestyle and office jobs need fewer calories than people who exercise regularly and whose jobs involve physical effort
  • Goal – Those who want to gain weight need more calories than those who want to stay fit, while those trying to lose weight should consume even fewer calories?

According to these factors:

  • Women may need anywhere between 1,500 and 2,500 calories per day.
  • For men, the ideal intake would range between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day.

To find out exactly how many calories you need every day, I recommend using the BMI Calories Calculator. It is free, and you only need to choose your gender and type in your weight, height, age, and activity level.

Perhaps the most important thing to pay attention to when it comes to calories is their quality. As you may have noticed, some foods have more calories than others and more health benefits than others.

When planning your meals, you need to look not only at calories but also at nutrients, to make sure you get the necessary vitamins and minerals.

As a general rule, you should try and take your daily calories from whole foods, and avoid processed, added-sugar foods as much as possible. This brings us to the other aspect you should pay attention to when planning your diet: sugar.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

If you’re anything like me, you love sweets and you can’t imagine your days without at least a small treat. If that were the only source of sugar on your menu, it would be great. Unfortunately, sugar abounds in most people’s diets, and we consume it in far greater quantities than we realize it.

According to the American Heart Association, Americans consume between 22 and 30 teaspoons of sugar every day.

Whereas, the recommended daily intake of sugar is only 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

How do we take in so much sugar?

No, not from the sweets we enjoy as snacks or desserts, but from other foods we eat on a regular basis and which, surprisingly, contain sugar, more than you would think.

For a general idea of just how much sugar is hiding in the food you eat, check out the list below, based on MedlinePlus and Healthline facts.

Did you know? How Much Sugar Is Hiding in Your Food?

  • 245g of low-fat yogurt may contain up to 47g of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of barbecue sauce may contain up to 1.5 teaspoons of sugar (barbeque sauce is up to 40% sugar)
  • Each tablespoon of ketchup contains up to 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • The standard 20-oz bottle of sports drink usually contains about 8 teaspoons of sugar
  • Every glass of chocolate milk comes with 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • You get over 6 teaspoons of sugar with every 100g of granola
  • In some coffeehouses, a large favored coffee contains up to 100g up sugar each, and even 3 times more sugar than a can of Coke
  • Iced tea contains approximately 10% sugar, similarly to Coke
  • Some protein bars contain up to 30g of sugar
  • One vitamin water could be enough to exhaust your recommended sugar intake for the day
  • 254g of baked beans may contain up to 5 teaspoons of sugar
  • Bottled smoothies may contain up to 24 teaspoons of sugar per serving
  • Every ounce of breakfast cereals may contain up to 3 teaspoons of sugar

Why is sugar so harmful?

There is no doubt sugar has negative effects on human health, but some of these effects are quite devastating.

Top 7 Negative Effects of Sugar on Your Health

  1. Excessive sugar consumption increases heart disease risks. According to a study JAMA Internal Medicine published not long ago, people whose daily calorie intake represents 25% sugar are twice more likely to develop heart disease compared to people whose sugar intake represents less than 10% of their calorie intake.
  2. Eating foods with a high glycemic index can cause skin breakouts, while a diet based on foods with a low glycemic index can help improve skin texture and appearance.
  3. Sugar is a leading cause of obesity in America. A review and analysis of 68 studies and trials found that subjects weighed more when loading up on sugar, compared to when they ate low-sugar foods.
  4. Too much sugar can lead to kidney stones. A study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showed that people who drink one or several sodas every day are 23% more likely to develop kidney stones than those who only drink soda once a week.
  5. Sugar damages teeth. The bacteria in your mouth will use sugar to create acid, which will, in turn, wear down your teeth enamel.
  6. Consuming sugar in excess can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a study from the journal of Hepatology.
  7. Sugar helps cancer spread faster. The findings made public a couple of months ago endorse the idea that sugar may be a cause for cancer, and low-sugar diets like the ketogenic diet can help fight the cruel disease.

Concluding thoughts on Calories and Sugar

If you want to be healthy and fit, moderation is key. Find out how many calories your body needs using the above-recommended calculator, and make sure no more than 10% of those calories come from sugar!

I know, sugary foods are great, especially nowadays, when we are always in a rush and desperate for more energy, for something to help us forget about our stress and worries. However, they are also dangerous. Why risk your health when you can replace sugary foods and drinks with healthier alternatives?

Trade that soda for honey lemonade, replace those desserts and snacks with antioxidant-packed fruits, and use healthier sweeteners like xylitol and erythritol if you have to. It’s for your own health and benefit, and you have nothing to lose!

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