Added Sugars and Young Athletes


How much sugars should your young athlete be consuming on daily basis?

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10% each day. That’s 200 calories, or about 12 teaspoons, for a 2,000 calorie diet.

When added sugars are consumed in excess, it becomes more difficult to also eat foods with enough dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals and still stay within calorie limits young athletes need.  Sugar has become an addiction among Americans and it is causing many negative results in our health.


Fortunately, With the updated new labels, you and your young athlete can decide to reduce the consumption of certain foods with added sugars, based on their individual needs or preferences. 


So what exactly 10% of daily calories mean? Depending on how much your young athlete’s calorie intake is, use the ‘divide by 4’ sugar rule.

How Many Calories Do Young Athlete's Need?

Take the calories and multiply by 10% or just take the first three numbers of your calories for the 10% added sugar goal.  If your young athlete needs 1800 per day, then 10% would be 180; 1900 daily calories is 190.  Then divide this number by 4 to get the grams of added sugar; If you want this in teaspoons just divide by 4 again to get the daily added sugars in teaspoons.:180 / 4= 45 grams of added sugars, about 11 teaspoons190 / 4=47.5 grams of added sugars, about 12 teaspoons


Look for the ‘added sugars’ label in the nutrition label to find out the amount of sugar a particular food has.Eating out? many restaurants have nutrition data on the food they serve or you can easily find out by doing a quick search on the restaurant’s website or in apps such as myfitnesspal.
Just to give you an idea, I looked up the nutrition for a chocolate cupcake (57g) from Walmart in myfitnesspal app and this is what I found out:180 calories  and 26 grams of sugar.  On a 1,800 daily calorie intake, your young athlete has about 19 grams remaining of added sugar she can still eat if she wants to stay within the FDA guideline.

How do you count calories? Do you use apps such myfitnesspal?


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