The World Health Organization suggests that no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories come from added sugar (things like table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and honey). The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar every day. And men should consume less than nine teaspoons per day.
That's about 100 and 150 calories for women and men, respectively.
Many of us love sweetened foods, but added sugars don't add anything but empty calories, meaning there's no extra nutritional benefit. And those extra calories can lead to unwanted weight gain and obesity, which is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.
It's not easy to avoid added sugars completely, but fortunately, it's not necessary to abandon your sweets completely. Read labels. Choose your sweet treats wisely. Keep your sweet treats small so the additional calories remain within your daily calorie budget.
American Heart Association. Carbohydrates and Sugars. Accessed April 20, 2010. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4471
United States Department of Agriculture. "Discretionary Calories." Accessed May 9, 2011. http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/discretionary_calories.html.