Do you know how much sugar is lurking in your food? To give you a better idea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the average percentage of total daily intake from added sugar is 13 percent, which equates to 335 calories for women and 239 calories in sugar for men.
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Contrast those figures with the recommendations from the American Heart Association, which state that most women should not exceed 100 calories or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and men should not exceed 150 calories or 9 teaspoons per day, and it's easy to see how excess sugar is a problem for many adults.
There are approximately 32 calories in 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Calories in Sugar
The calories in sugar depend on the type of sugar, and of course, the amount. According to the USDA, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar has 16 calories or 32 calories for 2 teaspoons. Brown sugar, packed, has 17 calories per teaspoon and powdered sugar has 10 calories per teaspoon.
While 2 teaspoons of sugar may not seem like much, it certainly can add up quickly. For example, one can of cola contains as much as 10 1/4 teaspoons. And if 1 teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories, that means a daily soda habit will net you about 160 calories.
The amount of sugar in your favorite cookie recipe may also surprise you. In general, a batch of sugar cookies that yields 24 average-sized cookies calls for 1 1/2 cups of white sugar or 72 teaspoons of sugar. When divided up, that could potentially mean 3 teaspoons of sugar or 48 calories worth of sugar per cookie.
Read more: 5 Easy Ways to Cut Down on Sugar
But it's not just sugar you need to consider when it comes to baking. Knowing the calories in flour and the calories in butter is also helpful when creating a healthy recipe. The good news is you have a few choices when it comes to the type of flour to use. White all-purpose flour has 455 calories per cup and wheat flour has 408 calories.
When it comes to butter, the type you choose for a recipe does make a difference. In general, most will call for regular salted or unsalted butter, which has 102 calories per tablespoon.
Choose Your Sugars Wisely
If you spend any time reading nutrition labels, then you know the number of products that contain added sugar. Everything from breakfast cereal and crackers to spaghetti sauce and energy drinks seems to contain a high amount of sugar. The key to this type of sugar is the word "added." That's because there are a few sources of sugar in your diet including, naturally occurring sugars and added or processed sugars.
You can find naturally occurring sugars in foods such as fruit and milk, but this type of sugar is not necessarily the problem. It's the added sugars that seem to cause the most health problems for so many people.
Read more: How to Cleanse the Body of Sugar
To help reduce or even avoid the sweet stuff, it's a good idea to become familiar with the names of added sugars on labels. According to the USDA's ChooseMyPlate, some of the added sugars to pay attention to include:
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Cane sugar
- Brown sugar
- Confectioner's powdered sugar
- Raw sugar
- Sugar molecules ending in "ose" such as dextrose, maltodextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose and sucrose
- MyFoodData: "Sugars Granulated"
- MyFoodData: "Powdered Sugar"
- MyFoodData: "Brown Sugar"
- American Heart Association: "Sugar 101"
- United States Department of Agriculture, ChooseMyPlate: "What Are Added Sugars?"
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "How Much Sugar and Calories Are in Your Favorite Drink?"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Know Your Limit for Added Sugars"
- MyFoodData: "Wheat Flour Whole-Grain"
- MyFoodData: "Wheat Flour White All Purpose Enriched"
- MyFoodData: "Salted Butter"