Sugar….How Much is too Much?

The other day I was scouting for some new recipes and came across one for a homemade strawberry frozen yogurt….made with frozen strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice and honey it sounded both easy and a healthier alternative. But how healthy is it?

What appealed to me was the use of strawberries and plain yogurt providing fibre, protein and calcium. Where I took a second glance was the use of 4 tablespoons of honey for a batch making 4 servings.

That seemed like a lot - 1 tablespoon of added sugar in each serving. As a dietitian I am always teaching the recommendations in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide which continually states to choose and enjoy foods with little or no added sugar.  

Consuming too much added sugar is associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, certain types of cancer and cavities.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released some new recommendations around added sugar. WHO recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. And states a further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. One tablespoon equals 3 teaspoons.
It’s important to remember these recommendations are for added sugar and do not include naturally occurring sugar like the sugar found in fruit and milk.

So at home my daughter and I conducted a little experiment. We made this frozen yogurt without the honey and conducted a taste test. Then instead of adding all 4 tablespoons in at once we added the honey in small amounts, taste testing as we went. We found the frozen yogurt to be sweet enough after 2 tablespoons. By cutting the honey in half we are able to enjoy this refreshing treat with only 1.5 teaspoons of added sugar per serving.

Homemade Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

4 cups of whole frozen strawberries – defrost for about 15-20 minutes
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey (or less)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until well blended. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. 
Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian