How Much is Too Much Added Sugar?

I have decided to start sharing some of the lessons I have been teaching to my students at Mt. Diablo. I have learned so much being in the classroom and my goal is to see this taught at EVERY high school in America. I have gone so far as to challenge my seniors to limit their sugar to just 3 tsp a day! Though it has been difficult, many have come to me and expressed how much better they feel when they aren’t “under the influence of sugar”.

Today’s topic is “How Much is Too Much Added Sugar?”

Overview: When almost 80% of the food on supermarket shelves contains “added sugar” it is no wonder we are WAY overdoing our sugar intake! And it’s killing us!

Learning Goal: To become aware of how much “added sugar” you are consuming vs what is recommended to stay healthy.

Main Points

  • Look for “added sugar” on the ingredient list (there are 56 names, see chart below)
  • Check the Nutrition Facts to find out how many GRAMS of sugar
  • 4 grams ~ 1 tsp of sugar
  • Check the serving size, especially on beverages!

Use the recommendations below as a guide to help you lower your sugar intake!

American Heart Association Added Sugar Recommended Limits
Age  Amount
Under 2 years  1 tsp (4g)
Ages 2-12 4 tsp (16g)
Women over 12 6 tsp (24g)
Men over 12  9 tsp (36g)

The 56 Names for Sugar

Agave nectar Carob syrup Diastatic malt Icing sugar Refiner’s syrup
Barbados sugar Castor sugar Diatase Invert sugar Rice syrup
Barley malt Confectioner’s sugar Ethyl malitol Lactose Sorghum syrup
Beet sugar Corn syrup Evaporated cane juice Malt syrup Sucrose
Blackstrap molasses Corn syrup solids Glucose Maltose Sugar
Brown rice syrup Crystalline fructose Glucose solids Maple syrup Treacle
Brown sugar Date sugar Golden sugar Molasses Turbinado sugar
Buttered syrup Demerara sugar Golden syrup Muscovado sugar Yellow sugar
Cane juice crystals Dextran Grape sugar Organic raw sugar
Cane sugar The Many Names for Sugar High-fructose corn syrup Panocha
Caramel Dextrose Honey Raw sugar


Read the label on all processed/packaged food! 

Cindy Gershen About Cindy Gershen

Cindy Gershen (Founder & Vice Chair)
Cindy Gershen is a well-known and respected advocate for healthy living. Cindy opened the Sunrise Cafe & Bakery in 1981, serving comfort food 'like Mom used to make." The cafe quickly outgrew its location and Cindy opened the Sunrise Bistro as a full service sit-down restaurant to compliment the successful cafe. Sunrise is about giving the customer what they want, from healthy and wholesome menu options to smart recipes without added sugar and salt. After having a stroke in 2001, Cindy lost and has kept off over 90 pounds. She is passionate about sharing the lessons of healthy diet and exercise she has learned and condenses that information into simple, practical solutions that people can use everyday. She often speaks and demonstrates cooking with local businesses and organizations to share her tips for healthy eating and its effects on productivity in the workplace and school environment. Cindy spearheaded the Walnut Creek Wellness City Challenge in 2005. Cindy Gershen is married to Dr Lance Gershen and together have 8 children and presently 9 grandchildren and 2 on the way.