Food Pyramid: Sugar

Eat 0 to 2 portions a day

Assortment of sugars

Assortment of sugars

Although many foods naturally contain sugars (e.g. fruit contains fructose, milk lactose), health experts recommend that we limit "added" sugars. Added sugars, such as table sugar, provide only calories—they contain no vitamins, minerals or fiber to contribute to health, and it is not necessary to eat them at all.

Denial of foods, or using them as rewards or punishment, is not a healthy attitude to eating, and can lead to cravings, binges and yo-yo dieting. Sweet foods are a pleasurable part of a well-balanced diet, but added sugars should account for no more than 11% of the total daily carbohydrate intake.

In assessing how much sugar you consume, don't forget that it is a major ingredient of many processed and ready-prepared foods.

What is a "portion" of sugary food?

Some examples are:

  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp jam or honey
  • 2 biscuits
  • Half a slice of cake
  • 1 doughnut
  • 1 Danish pastry
  • 1 small bar of chocolate
  • 1 small bag of sweets