This blog post is about sugar intake. It was prompted by the fact that I didn’t feel like drinking another glass of plain water at work, so I grabbed a Tetley Tea Infusions sachet and dumped it into my water. 

At a quick glance, it looks pretty healthy. After all, it’s touted as being “real-brewed” and “naturally sweetened” with nothing artificial. I like this because I believe artificial sweeteners are worse for us than the real thing, but that’s a whole different blog post!

I glanced at the label and read 12 grams of sugar per serving. It’s raw cane sugar, but this is still an added sugar. Hmm, not bad, but not great. Upon further inspection, I discover that it’s 12 grams of sugar in half a sachet. That means it’s really 24 grams of sugar per actual serving. 

This is a very misleading label since no one is going to open this packet of liquid tea flavouring and only use half at a time. Also, their directions tell you to pour the entire sachet into your water bottle. Sneaky Tetley, very sneaky.

This is certainly not the first time that a label has been misleading with regard to serving size. In fact, most are when closely inspected. What this got me to thinking was about the amount of sugar we should be consuming in a day. What is the recommended daily sugar intake? This is where it gets interesting. As there are no accepted scientific national or international limits on sugar consumption I did some research and came up with some very different numbers.

The healthiest drink you can have is water. Add fruit slices to flavour it instead of using sugar-laden additives

Sugar intake suggestions

I checked with the Canadian Sugar Institute first to get their recommendations. Their website claims that “Canadians consume (the) equivalent (of) about 53 g of added sugars per person per day.” They also claim that “This is considered a moderate amount and well within current dietary guidelines.” Really? 53 grams of added sugar, ie those not from fruits or vegetables, is well within the dietary guidelines. Let’s check another source.

I went over to Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong website, which states that the recommended amount of sugar per day for men is 40 grams and for women is 30 grams. That’s almost half the amount of sugar for women and quite a difference. Let’s check a few more sources.

According to, the “United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.” They also provide us with the American Heart Association (AHA) suggestions, which are are 36 grams for men and 20 grams for women.

Alright, one more source. I chose a health-conscious website aptly named and they say women should consume only 6 teaspoons added sugars, the equivalent of approximately 24 grams of sugar; however, they do not name their source.

So basically if we take all of these suggestions, based on women, we get 53g, 30g, 20g, and  24g. That would provide an average of 31.75g per day; however, I think the Canadian Sugar Institute is biased. As such, I’ve removed them from the equation to come up with just under 25 grams of sugar per day. Yikes, I’m almost there with my single glass of Tetley tea water!

So what’s a girl to do? Eat as cleanly as possible and read labels religiously! Tetley almost slid one by me with their smart marketing. You’d think because I work in marketing that I’d be less likely to get suckered in, but it’s not true. I love a pretty label just as much as the next gal. Next time, I’m adding a lemon wedge or cucumber slice to my water!