How to figure out the sugar content in food

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Once you start really looking at sugars in the food you are eating it can be quite astounding to see how much you're consuming without even realising it (if you've seen That Sugar Film, you'll know what I mean). For women the World Health Organisation recommended sugar in-take our bodies can biologically process is around 6-7 teaspoons a day. We all know sugar isn't great, but it's the hidden sugars that we really need to be worried about – that includes hidden sugars, fructose from fruit, naturally occurring sugars in dairy, pasta sauces etc and refined carbs etc. For kid's it's 3-4 teaspoons. So there is simple equation you can do to figure out how much sugar is in a product: • Look on the food label at the sugar content in the ‘per serving’ column (not the per 100g column). • Divide that number (grams) by 4 to get the number of teaspoons (there is 4 grams of sugar in a tea spoon). • Remember that some serving sizes mean per item, so if the per serving size is 1 bliss ball, and you eat 3, then you times by 4 (for the grams) and then times by 3 (for the amount of bliss balls you're eating)


So for example: Can of fruit salad - Servings per pack – 2 - Qty of sugar per serving – 25.0g 25.0 divided by 4 = 6.25 teaspoons of sugar for half a can (6-7 teaspoons/day is the amount recommended). However if you eat the whole can, that’s 2 servings, so you are actually eating 12.50 teaspoons of sugar.


Here's some other examples of sugar content in food: An apple – 2-3 teaspoons A banana – 3-4 teaspoons Handful of raisins – 5-7 teaspoons Coke – 10-12 teaspoons Low fat Yoghurt – 6 teaspoons

Two slices of white bread have a similar Glycemic Index rating as a can of coke (GI - a tool that measure how food affects your blood sugar levels). Cornflakes are even higher.

Try tracking how much sugar you think you consume for a day - you might be surprised at the results.