How to Calculate Your Daily Sugar Intake

Sugar does not have an established recommended daily value, but the FDA recommends that you limit your daily consumption of it. This can be difficult to do, especially if you aren't sure how much sugar is in the foods you are eating. While most packaged foods come with a nutrition label that indicates how many grams of sugar are in that food, other foods you eat may not have this label. By learning how to obtain the sugar content of any food, you can feel confident in your ability to keep track of your daily sugar intake adequately.

A woman is stirring sugar into her coffee. (Image: psphotograph/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Keep a notebook or pad of paper handy. Jot down the amount of sugar in each food or beverage you consume.

Step 2

Check if there is a nutrition label. The amount of sugar found in the food is listed under the carbohydrates section of the label. Remember that the values shown on the food label are based on one serving. If you consumed more or less than this serving size, adjust the amount of sugar accordingly. For example, if the serving size was based on three cookies, but you ate six, double the amount of sugar listed on the label. Write this number down in your notebook.

Step 3

Use an online nutritional database website to obtain the amount of sugar for foods that do not have a nutrition label. LIVESTRONG.COM's MyPlate or the USDA Nutrient Database are good sources for this information. Remember to adjust the amounts based on how much food you actually consumed. Record the amounts for each food in your notebook.

Step 4

Write down the amount of sugar you add to your food or beverages. For example, if you add a few spoonfuls of sugar to your coffee, remember to record this amount in your notebook. One teaspoon of white granulated sugar contains about 4 to 5 grams sugar.

Step 5

Add the amount of sugar in each of the food and beverages you consumed the entire day. This is your total daily sugar intake.

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook

  • Pen

Tip

Calculating the amount of sugar in a homemade dish can be done in a similar manner. First, find the sugar amount of each ingredients used. Adjust this amount, based on how much of the ingredient was in the recipe, then adjust it again based on the amount you actually consumed. Do this for each ingredient, and then add the amounts of sugar together to get the total amount of sugar found in the food.

Warning

The nutrition label and online nutritional database websites list the total amount of sugar in a serving, including sugar that occurs naturally as well as sugar that is added to the product. Foods that are high in added sugar tend to contain a significant amount of calories without providing many nutrients. You should avoid these foods whenever possible. Check the ingredient list for the words "sugar," "dextrose," "molasses," "corn syrup," "high fructose corn syrup," "fructose" or "honey" to determine if sugar was added to the product.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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