The average American consumes nearly 5 times the recommended amount of sugar each day. Americans tend to love sugary foods, despite knowing that it’s not good for their health. A new survey says people can’t quit sugar like they want to.

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

A couple of the problems many people have with sugar is that they do not track their sugar consumption each day and they do not know how much added sugar they should be eating.

Those two variables combined creates the perfect formula for overeating added sugar.

For men, the recommended amount is 9 teaspoons–equaling 36 grams of sugar and 150 calories.

For women, the recommended amount is 6 teaspoons–equaling 24 grams of sugar and 100 calories.

To put this in perspective, with just one can of soda, you get about 8 teaspoons of sugar and 130 calories. If you’re a woman, that puts you over your daily recommended intake.

Survey Says: People Can’t Quit Sugar

Healthline conducted a survey asking 3,223 Americans about their awareness of added sugars and how much sugar they eat. About 62% of the participants said that they were worried about how sugar would affect their health and their weight.

Interestingly, 40% of the participants said that they would feel more guilty about eating too much sugar than eating too many carbs or fat.

When presented with different food items, such as a Starbucks Chocolate Croissant vs. a Dannon Strawberry Yogurt, they thought the croissant would have more sugar. However, the yogurt had 14 grams more of sugar.

Many of the participants guessed that protein bars and “healthier” options would have less sugar, but in most cases, they had more.

About 38% of the respondents said that they did not trust what’s on food labels. Added sugar is not yet included on nutrition labels, making it hard for some to fully know what they’re consuming.

Dangers of Too Much Sugar

Sugar can also be as addicting as heroin. Sugar temporarily makes the body feel energized and possibly even less stressed since foods with sugars like caffeine and chocolate can help focus and relax.

However, eventually, people need more sugar to get the same effect or feel satisfied. Therefore, people begin to eat more sugar and find it harder to quit or lessen the amount.

People who eat too much sugar are at a higher risk of getting diabetes and heart disease. JAMA: Internal Medicine conducted a study showing that added sugar was associated with an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

Those who consumed 17%-21% of their calories from added sugar were at a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease than people who only ate 8% or fewer calories from added sugar.

People can’t quit sugar because they can’t properly read labels or underestimate how much added sugar is in food. If you want to quit sugar, you need to eat fewer sweets and drink less soda.

Eating foods that are naturally sweet like fruits will help you to avoid the chocolate bars and sodas.