12 Potential Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

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Sugar gets a bad rap, but the truth is that it’s a vital source of energy and essential to our survival. Of course, not all sugars are the same. Fructose found in fruits and vegetables and lactose in dairy-rich foods are natural sugars we don’t have to be as concerned about because these foods also have fiber and calcium, for example. Added sugars, however, which are often found in processed foods, are those we could do without, and most of us consume too much of them.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, the average American consumes 270 calories of added sugars, or 17 teaspoons, each day.

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Added sugars are anything that’s added to food to make it taste sweet, and this includes natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. “Even though they may be more wholesome than table sugar, it’s still contributing more calories but not much in the way of vitamins and minerals,” says Jessica Cording, RD, a health coach in New York City and author of The Little Book of Game Changers.

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