How Much Added Sugar CAN You Eat?

The most important thing to know while exploring our blog is the amount of added sugar that a tween/teen can eat on a daily basis.

Knowing that number will allow you to make comparisons to the amount of added sugar in the foods that you like to eat.

So how much added sugar SHOULD you eat every day?

The answer may surprise you:  Added sugar has NO nutritional value at all.  That means your body literally doesn’t need ANY added sugar in order to survive.

Doctors say, however, that the average tween/teen can safely eat about 24 grams of added sugar per day:


(click image to enlarge)

On our blog, we’ll always represent one day’s worth of added sugar with this blue box.  That way, you’ll know just how much sugar you are SUPPOSED to be eating versus just how much sugar are in those tasty treats you ARE eating.

In 2010 the American Heart Association released guidelines about how much sugar teens, women, and men should eat in a day. They discovered that women/teens should have no more than 100 calories a day come from added sugar. We did a simple conversion, and found that 1 gram of sugar has 4 calories.  And recently, the World Health Organization revised their recommendations for added sugars downward.  They also believe that adults should have less than 25 grams of added sugar per day.

Then the question becomes, how many calories of sugar can you have in a day. And Doctors and medical organizations cannot seem to agree on that. Originally, doctors recommended that no more than 10 percent of daily calories should come from sugars.  For an adult male — who doctors recommend consuming 2,500 calories per day — that would equal 250 calories (62.5 grams) of sugar per day.

But here’s the thing:  Those recommendations are based on ALL sugars — natural and added — consumed per day. Natural sugars are less of a concern for doctors because they come with added benefits like fiber and vitamins that you don’t get from sugars added just to make food taste better.


Ried D. and Daniel C.


  1. Jeff Manhardt

    This is a relevant and important project and I am learning a lot from it. It so difficult to cut back on sugary stuff when you grow up being treated to it so often. I look at all my grocery labels and I am extremely surprised by the overabundance of sugar and corn syrup, etc. Keep up the great work.

  2. Stacy E.

    Your graphic with the 24 blue boxes is so helpful in painting the picture in my mind! My 11 year old son and I are starting to look at how much sugar is in everything now, and how quickly those 24 boxes fill up each day. Thank you for helping us to eat healthier!

  3. Rick Alva

    You may want to reword the last sentence in “The answer may surprise you: Sugar has NO nutritional value at all. That means your body literally doesn’t need ANY sugar in order to survive.” to “ANY added sugar”

    • William Ferriter

      Thanks for catching the error! It is now fixed.

      We try to emphasize the difference between natural and added sugar, and we hope we didn’t misinform anyone.

      Thanks again!
      -the Sugar Kills team

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  5. Avnash Gill

    Its surprising that the amount is so low because having a simple glass of juice or a can of pop is already over that amount

    • Garret

      That shows the severity of overconsumption. A “can of pop” every day will eventually take your teeth and leave you dying sick.

  6. Kevin

    I did a blog post on sugar to. I reasherced the topic on TFK. They said that the FDA health organization says you should of 45 grams of sugar, 10% of your diet.

    • William Ferriter

      Thank you for visiting our blog! We are checking not only our links, but we are also researching your numbers, so that we can provide the most accurate information for our readers. Expect a post about this sometime next week. -Ried D.

  7. Kim

    Thanks so much for sharing this post! Our family is trying to eat healthier, and we know we have too much sugar in our diets. As a mom, I feel responsible for the eating habits of my kids. It’s helpful to show them that 24 grams of sugar or less a day is the healthy amount for them.

    • William Ferriter

      Thank you for visiting our blog. Just try and do the best you can because one of the things we learned is that it is really hard to have 24 grams of sugar or less when you have 3 meals a day with snacks in between. I hope that you will keep trying to stay healthy.

      If you read the label everytime you eat something, it will blow your mind just how much sugar is in each food. If you want to find out more information, type the name of a food that you want to look at into the search enginge on our blog. If we haven’t written about that food, try using our food database.

      Thanks:Matthew N.

  8. Becca G

    I love the blog posts on foods that have a surprising amount of sugar, like yogurt! When I’m trying to eat healthier I know desserts are bad for me, but I often don’t look at the “healthy” foods I eat everyday. Your blog has helped me to be aware of how much sugar is really in my foods.

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  10. Justin

    Your two paragraphs about recommended calories from sugar don’t make sense. You say they suggest 100 calories or less, then say “but how many calories can you have in a day?” Well duh, the answer was already 100. Then you say you can have 2500 or 1000 calories of sugar??!! You either multiplied or divided by 40 instead of 4. It seems like you guys are pretty young so you should probably say that somewhere, or just wait until you’re older and more educated before sharing your knowledge with an internet full of people who blindly believe most of what they read.

    • Jadon Wellum

      Thank you for your helpful advice, we do have an adult science teacher whose been teaching for years look over our posts. The post you talk about states that of the amount of calories you can have that come from ADDED SUGAR is 100, but the TOTAL number of calories you can have from ALL foods is 1000 or 2500. We are simply trying to state how many calories you waste when you consume sugar. However we will edit the post so that it’s a little more clear what we mean. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

    • William Ferriter

      Hey Justin,

      Thanks for nudging the thinking of my students. They learn every time that their writing is challenged.

      A few responses, though:

      1). You say, “You guys are pretty young so you should probably say that somewhere.” We do. It’s on the “About Us” page linked directly next to this one in the navbar at the top of your screen.

      2). You say, “Just wait until you’re older and more educated before sharing your knowledge.” Not sure that one clarification error makes my students uneducated. The vast majority of their content was spot on and sourced.

      Bill Ferriter

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