Reducing daily sugar intake to less than 6 teaspoons found to benefit overall health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), added sugar should not make up more than 10 percent of your daily energy intake. A recent study also found that limiting your sugar intake to only six teaspoons a day and having only one sugary drink a week could significantly improve your overall well-being.

The researchers who conducted the study highlighted the fact that consuming too much added sugar daily increases your risk of developing 45 different health conditions, including depression, diabetes and heart disease.

More details were published in the journal The BMJ.

Drinking too much soda can cause serious health problems

For the study, an international team of researchers reviewed multiple studies to explore the link between sugar consumption and various health outcomes. The review included 73 studies from at least 8,600 articles that covered 83 different health outcomes in adults and children.

Data from the studies revealed that consuming too much sugar can cause health problems like:

The data also showed that a high-sugar diet may increase the risk of seven specific types of cancer, including breast, prostate and pancreatic tumors. (Related: Study links use of artificial sweeteners to increased cancer risk.)

A sugary diet was also linked to other health problems like asthma, tooth decay and premature death.

If you wish to stay healthy, it’s important to reduce your sugar intake because drinking high-sugar beverages like soda is linked to an increase in body weight. At the same time, adding sugar to your food and drinks can increase both liver and muscle fat.


The data also suggested that for each additional serving of sugary drinks per week, there is a four percent increase in the risk of developing gout.

The researchers warned that drinking 250 milliliters (mL) of sugary drinks per day is associated with a 17 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease and a four percent higher risk of death. Evidence also suggest that each 25-gram serving of fructose per day is linked to a 22 percent greater risk of pancreatic cancer.

Associate Professor Liangren Liu of the West China Hospital of Sichuan University said the umbrella review suggests that high dietary sugar consumption, “especially intake of sugars that contain fructose, is harmfully associated with large numbers of health outcomes.”

Liu added that data for the harmful links between dietary sugar consumption and changes in body weight, ectopic fat accumulation, coronary heart disease, obesity (in children) and depression seem to be more reliable than data for other outcomes.

Based on their findings, Liu and colleagues recommend reducing the amount of sugar you add to food and beverages to only six teaspoons a day. They also recommend consuming only one or fewer sugary drinks every week.

In addition, Liu said that while the link between dietary sugar consumption and cancer is limited, it warrants further research.

Tips for improving your eating habits and reducing sugar intake

Sugary treats like candy and soda can be comforting, but reducing your intake of sugary foods and beverages is key to improving your well-being.

Follow the tips below if you have a sweet tooth but want to reduce your daily sugar intake:

Limit your intake of sugary drinks

Most added sugars in the average American diet come from sugary drinks like sodas, energy drinks, sweetened teas and sports drinks. Drinks that many people think are healthy, like fruit smoothies and fruit juices, may also contain a lot of added sugar.

For example, one cup (271 grams) of cranberry juice cocktail contains more than seven teaspoons of sugar (31 grams), which is more than the recommended six teaspoons a day.

Reducing your intake of sugary drinks can help with weight loss and improve your overall well-being.

If you are looking for drinks that are naturally low on sugar, consider water, unsweetened sparkling water, herbal teas, plain black or green tea and coffee with little to no added sugar or creamer.

Avoid sugary desserts

Most desserts contain little to no nutrients and are full of sugar, which causes blood sugar spikes that can leave you feeling tired and hungry and make you crave even more sugar.

According to data, grain- and dairy-based desserts, like cakes and ice cream, make up over 18 percent of the added sugar in the standard American diet.

For healthier dessert alternatives, try a piece of fresh fruit or some Greek yogurt with cinnamon or berries. You can also try baked fruit with cream and dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa or higher.

Eat more whole foods

Whole foods refer to foods that haven’t been processed or refined. They are free of any additives and other artificial substances like flavorings. Whole foods include whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and meat on the bone.

Ultra-processed foods or packaged foods contain a lot of fat, salt, sugar and additives. These ingredients make these unhealthy foods taste good, making it hard to avoid them once you get a taste. Examples of ultra-processed foods are chips, sugary cereals and soft drinks.

Almost 90 percent of the added sugar in the average American’s diet comes from ultra-processed foods, while only 8.7 percent comes from foods cooked at home using whole foods.

Whenever possible, cook food at home instead of eating fast food or dining out to avoid added sugars.

If you don’t have a lot of free time, you don’t have to cook elaborate meals. You can prepare delicious meals by simply preparing marinated meats and roasted vegetables.

Avoid stocking up on foods and beverages with high sugar content 

Keeping high-sugar foods in the house makes you more likely to eat them. To effectively reduce your sugar intake, avoid buying soda and sugary desserts like cake and ice cream.

If you want to improve your family’s eating habits, you should have a plan in place when the sugar cravings strike. Try stocking up on healthier alternatives, like herbal teas, fruits, healthy homemade desserts and low-sugar snacks and beverages.

Visit for more articles about why too much sugar is bad for your health.

Watch the video below to know more about monk fruit, a natural sugar substitute.

This video is from the Health Ranger Store channel on

More related stories:

High-sugar diet increases pregnant women’s diabetes and liver disease risk.

Not so sweet: Study links artificial sweeteners to liver damage.

Study: High-fructose diets can negatively affect fat metabolism in the liver.

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