What Is the Daily Allowance of Sugar on a 2,000-Calorie Diet?

A healthy diet includes the basics of protein, fats and carbohydrates, which are called macronutrients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes specific recommendations about the amounts of each macronutrient you should eat, depending upon your age. The USDA does not have recommendations for sugar, however, and cautions that most Americans need to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets.

Many Americans, especially teens, drink added sugar in the form of soft drinks. (Image: tzahiV/iStock/Getty Images)

Identifying Added Sugars

Natural sugars from foods, such as fruits, should be part of a healthy diet, according to the USDA. Added sugars, however, currently make up an average of 16 percent of the American diet, or approximately 320 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet. The USDA recommends that solid fats and added sugars combined should be between 5 percent and 15 percent of the diet, although it does not make a specific recommendation for sugar. Even if you eat no solid fat, your added sugar intake should be between about 100 and 300 calories daily. This amount is equivalent to 7 to 20 teaspoons of sugar. Remember to read labels to find added sugars. Added sugar is known by names such as corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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