Did you know that the average American adult consumes about 77 grams of sugar every day? And the average child eats even more – 81 grams a day. Considering this, the general American population consumes over 3 times more sugar than advised. 
In Europe, the numbers are just as worrisome. The sugar consumption of European adults can range from 8-20% of their daily calories, which again, likely exceeds the World Health Organization daily sugar “conditional intake recommendation” of up to 25 grams.  More information about this recommendation is provided below.
It may sound surprising, but the biggest contributors (46%) of sugar intake are beverages: soft drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee and tea. The second main source of added sugars (31%) are snacks, sweets, and other processed foods. 
So how much sugar to eat per day? What are the health risks of eating lots of sugary foods and drinks? Do all types of sugar have the same health effects, and how to eat less sugar?
This article will guide you through the answers to all of these questions.
Let’s get started.
Recommended daily sugar intake
According to the recommendation provided by the World Health Organization, adults should eat no more than 10% of their daily calories from sugars. The organization suggests that ideally, up to 5% of the daily calories should come from added sugars or sugars found naturally in honey and fruit juices. For example, people following a 2000kcal diet should ideally eat up to 25 grams of total sugar per day. 
The National Health Service (NHS) from the United Kingdom has broken down the free sugars recommended in a day per age: 
- Adults: up to 30 grams (about 7 sugar cubes)
- Children (7-10 yo): up to 24 grams (about 6 sugar cubes)
- Children (4-6 yo): up to 19 grams (about 5 sugar cubes)
- Children below 4 years of age: avoid all free sugars
The American Heart Association sums up the sugar intake recommendations based on gender :
- Men: up to 9 teaspoons of sugar (36 grams) per day
- Women: up to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day
Risks of eating too much sugar
Evidence suggests that eating large amounts of added sugars over long periods of time may increase the risk of disease development.  Some health conditions related to long term high sugar intake are listed below:
- Hormonal imbalance
- High blood sugar levels
- Insulin resistance/ leptin resistance
- Weight gain/ obesity
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver disease
- Predisposition of heart attack/stroke
- Tooth decay
- Kidney damage
Are all sugars the same?
Generally, when people refer to sugar they mean a specific compound called sucrose (the white/brown granular table sugar that we know). That being said, the human body processes all sugar compounds in the same way. There are generally two types of sugars  :
Naturally occurring sugars: found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and fruit juices
Free sugars: added sugars and those found in fruit juices
The list below shows the general carbohydrate formulations that are broken down as glucose in the blood:
- Monosaccharides (glucose and fructose)
- Disaccharides (e.g., lactose and sucrose)
- Polysaccharides (starches)
If you look at the food labels, you may find “hidden” added sugars, which are not listed directly as “sugar” but are disguised in different names :
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Agave nectar
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Syrup sugar ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
All of these added sugars should be eaten in moderation to keep blood sugar levels balanced and prevent the development of related health conditions.
With that in mind, sugar from whole foods is generally not considered to be a health concern.
The only whole foods that may contribute to high sugar intake if eaten in big amounts are fruits. For that reason, sticking to the general recommendation for fruit intake – 1.5-2.5 cups of fruit per day can provide you with optimal nutrition and health benefits. 
When it comes to sweeteners (e.g., aspartame, maltitol, stevia, monk fruit, etc.) they cannot be directly compared to sugar, as they are different dietary compounds. Studies are still not definitive whether sweeteners are generally healthier than sugar. What we currently know is that in some circumstances, sweeteners are suggested as sugar substitutes to prevent blood sugar spikes and keep this metric balanced. 
How to eat less sugar
Here are some tips that can help you eat less added sugar.
Limit the intake of fruit juice/smoothie to maximum 150 ml a day.
Look at food labels and choose foods low in total sugars (less than 5g sugars per 100g product) while eating foods high in sugars (more than 22.5g sugar per 100g product) in moderation.
Include more whole foods in your diet (veggies, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean meat, fish, poultry, unsweetened dairy)
Eat processed and packaged foods in only moderation.