How Much Sugar Is a Gram?

If you knew there was six times this much sugar in an applesauce cup, would you eat it? (Photo: Kisan/Shutterstock).

The nutrition label on processed foods is vague when it comes to sugar. As it stands now, there is one line for sugar and it doesn’t differentiate between natural sugar and added sugar. There isn’t a percentage of daily value on the label because the FDA has not set one for sugar like it has for protein or sodium. And, the sugar is measured in grams. There are proposed changes to the nutrition label that might fix some of that, but it won’t change the fact that sugar is measured in grams.

Do you know how much sugar is in a gram? Probably not. Four grams is equal to about a measured teaspoon of sugar. You probably know how much a measured teaspoon of sugar looks like. It seems to make common sense that with all the evidence that too much sugar could be toxic, that sugar should be indicated in teaspoons on a nutrition label to make it easy for consumers to visualize the amount of sugar they’ll be consuming from a product.

For example, a snack pack serving of Motts Cinnamon Apple Sauce contains 24 grams of sugar, which is about six teaspoons. If the nutrition label indicated that the small serving contained six teaspoons instead of 24 grams of sugar, it might make people think twice before buying, eating it or serving it to children.

Although the U.S. hasn’t established a recommended amount of sugar per day, The World Health Organization recommends that adults get only 5 percent of their calories per day from sugar. For the average adult, that equals about six teaspoons. It’s easy to see how simple it is to eat more sugar than is recommended when the measurements are in grams.

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio is calling “on the FDA to change sugar measurements from grams to the more commonly understood teaspoon.” Through this online sugar petition, anyone can join him in making the FDA aware that a change in food labels is needed.

I’ve signed. Will you?