Whether you’re strolling through the grocery store or scrolling through your newsfeed, you’re likely surrounded by anti-sugar messages every day—from snack foods touting low sugar levels to friends practicing low-sugar diets. As overwhelming as it may be, all of this stems from a good reason: The average American woman eats 48 pounds of added sugar over the course of a year (!) and research shows that consuming too much can up your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
That said, it’s important to know sugar isn’t the enemy. It provides the fuel that your body and brain need to function properly. The key is to learn the difference between the sugar naturally found in foods like milk and fruit and the sugar hiding in lots of packaged foods. To make that a little easier for you, we consulted nutritionists to figure out the different types of sugar that are out there, exactly how much added sugar is too much, and everything you need to know about using sugar substitutes. This way you can make the right nutritional decisions for you and your family. At the end of the day, try not to stress yourself out over it—it’s okay (and completely necessary) to treat yourself sometimes!
Want to really take a break from sugar? Join our new membership club, GH+, to unlock access to Good Housekeeping‘s 21-day sugar detox plan, which will ease you out of your sugar cravings and help you form a healthy relationship with the sweet stuff.