Sugar: the battle continues with new WHO guidance

Sugar has been the most difficult of the three food vices — sugar, fat and salt — for me to cut down on since my angioplasty. I find my food life without it hideously boring and old man-ish, so I’ve been eating more fruit to get it, despite warnings about the “bad” sugar in such things as grapes, for example.

Once my favorites, Hostess HoHos are off my diet today, but I will never forget them.
Once my favorites, Hostess HoHos are off my diet today, but I will never forget them.

The first nutritionist I saw after my angioplasty in 2012 said to eat no more than 40 grams of sugar a day, either added to foods or in foods naturally (such as in fruit). I’ve found that level impossible. I’ve since read there is no recommended daily sugar allowance, even for healthy people. But a recent article on the World Health Organization talking about sugar does provide some new guidance — guidance which makes me extremely sad, unfortunately.

WHO is suggesting the daily limit for added sugar should be about 25 grams, or six teaspoons for anyone who somehow adds teaspoons of sugar to what they eat (the teaspoon measurement has never really clicked with me, I prefer looking at grams because that’s how sugar content is listed on most packaged foods).

According to my Lose It! calorie and food monitoring app, I consume about 100 grams of sugar a day, on average. Lose It! does not distinguish between added sugars and sugars that naturally occur in fruits. A cup of honeydew, for example, has 13 grams of sugar, according to Lose It!

A package of Hostess HoHos, my once favorite junk food, has 42 grams of added sugar, the kind most nutritionists warn against. I suppose that’s one more reason HoHos are a rare treat for me these days.


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