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How Many Calories Are in One Tablespoon of Sugar?

author image Alyssa Clement
Alyssa Clement holds Bachelor's degrees in psychology and nutrition. She has completed clinical nutrition internships in long-term care and acute care along with food service and community nutrition internships. Her research includes nutrition supplements, weight loss, exercise and sports nutrition.
How Many Calories Are in One Tablespoon of Sugar?
According to 2010 dietary guidelines, Americans are consuming too much sugar. Photo Credit: Fengyuan Chang/iStock/Getty Images

Sugar can be found naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables or added into foods like soda, milk, yogurt and cereals. Face the Facts USA reports that an average person consumes 100 pounds of sugar per year, or almost 30 tablespoons per day. Most added sugars are consumed through sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar should be consumed in moderation, with the American Heart Association recommending no more than 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men each day.

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One teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories, and 1 tablespoon (which equals 3 teaspoons) contains 48 calories, with all the calories coming from carbohydrates. There are many ways to lessen added sugar in your diet. For example, the American Heart Association recommends cutting the amount of sugar you normally add to foods and drinks. Drinking water is a better choice than sugary drinks like soda and juices. When baking, try decreasing the sugar in the recipe. Or instead of canned fruits in heavy syrup, buy fruit in its own juice or fresh fruits. Try adding fruit to oatmeal to sweeten it and get the benefits of vitamins and minerals in the fruit.

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