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Brenda Watson’s acclaimed Heart of Perfect Health PBS health exposé is airing throughout March on PBS stations nationwide and in it she talks sugar. Most of us don’t link heart and cardiovascular disease risk to our sugar intake, but it turns out that blood sugar levels affect far more than just your risk of diabetes.

High blood sugar is a major sign of the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. This risk factor is silent, causes no pain, and most people have no idea if it’s happening to them or not. It’s called silent inflammation and it starts in the gut.

The two types of inflammation:

  • Acute inflammation happens when you smash your finger and blood flow rushes to the site, healing the injury.
  • Silent inflammation happens internally and often originates in the gut as a result of a leaky gut, or intestines that have become too permeable due to a poor diet, lack of gut-healing nutrients, stress, and other factors. Silent inflammation does not heal itself. You can’t feel silent inflammation or see it.

The signs of silent inflammation include high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. High blood sugar makes blood vessels stiff and weak, increases blood pressure and harmful cholesterol, weakens immunity and digestion, and causes weight gain. Most importantly high blood sugar is a major preventable risk factor for heart disease, yet very few of us are checking our fasting blood sugar levels regularly.

How Much Sugar Should I Eat?

The best way to begin lowering your fasting blood sugar/glucose levels is to monitor your daily sugar intake. Your fasting blood sugar should be no higher than 85 and you should be consuming no more than 10 teaspoon of sugar each day. That’s total sugars, including the pastas and breads you eat that are converted to sugar. You may be surprised to learn that many of us are consuming over 37 teaspoons of sugar daily!

Packaged foods are labeled according to grams of sugar and carbohydrates, not teaspoons. Use this quick sugar conversion formula to find out exactly how much true sugar is in your food:

Total grams of carbs – Total grams of fiber
------------------------------------------------  =  Total teaspoons of sugar

That’s the total grams of carbs minus the total grams of fiber listed in the nutrition facts, all divided by 5. This will give you the total teaspoons of sugar in a serving of that food. It’s important to take the total grams of carbs, not total grams of sugar when you are doing your conversion. That way, you are taking into account the sugars that break down from carbohydrates in addition to sugars themselves.

Written by Renew Life

Established in 1997, Renew Life is the leading natural digestive care company in America and the recipient of numerous industry awards for product quality, purity, and efficacy. Sign up for our emails to receive new product announcements, company news, and exclusive offers!

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  • Bonnie Story

    I saw you on PBS, taped your show and was so impressed with how you explained the amount of sugar we need. I am confused now because when refering to the sugar formula, you often refer to packaged foods. I am interested in eating less “meat” and then how to figure the sugar in natural foods, i.e. fruits, vegetables, etc. Do any of your books include complete information of suggested menues, snacks, lists of foods, etc.? I need to lose weight and I want to use this low sugar method, but I feel that I need more guidance. I loved seeing the picture of your sister and her change when she started following your plan. Thank you so much for any information you can give.

  • renewlifesupport

    Dear Bonnie,

    We’re so happy you enjoyed Heart of Perfect Health.

    One way to stay in touch with Brenda personally and also to receive more specific support is to join her Community Forum for free here. Under “Ask Brenda”, you can post questions to her, and also you can search years of her answers to other people’s posts. She offers certain chapters from her books there too.

    The book that contains exactly why you describe is the companion book available only through a PBS pledge donation. Read more here.

    However, between the support available at “Ask Brenda” on her Forum, along with a number of infographics that are available right here on the Renew Life blog, I sincerely think you will be able to create and follow a program that will help you to lose weight and become much more healthy.

    Renew Life Support

  • Roseann

    Some years ago I saw on TV when it say 0 calories, but has a sugar count. there was a equation for figuring out the calories from the sugar. to you have that equation

  • Rod West

    Hi: have you a general guide for reading the label on food for a safe sugar level and carbohydrates:
    per serve 100 g

    total carbs 35

    sugar 22

    Looking at the above can I judge a safe sugar level
    Rod West

  • ReNew Life

    Hi Rod,

    The equation for you to determine the teaspoons of sugar in a serving of whatever food your eating is to find the following information – either on the label or if you’re looking at a food with out a label, on a site like
    Total Carbohydrates (grams) minus Fiber (grams); then divide that number by 5 to determine your teaspoons of sugar. Aim to keep your total number of teaspoons of sugar in ALL the foods you consume in a day to 10-15 teaspoons. You’ll be surprised how those carbohydrates add up! The sugars that are reported on a label only account for the added sugars, which makes the food seem much healthier. Truth is, carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body just like table sugar, so you need to look at the whole picture.

    To learn more, you can go here –

    Renew Life Support

  • amy dun

    how does alcohol come in on this diet; in particular red wind, like a cab?



  • ReNew Life

    You’ll figure the sugars like any other food. Total Carbs subtract fiber divided by 5. Wines vary in their sugar content. Generally you’ll certainly want to restrict your intake.
    Renew Life Support

  • Ldin

    The advice is somewhat confusing to me.

    If about only 50 grams of carbohydrates are recommended, that would only give 50×4 = 200 calories per day.

    The recommended protein per day is about 50 grams which would give only about 50×4 = 200 calories per day.

    The recommended fat per day is about 60 grams which would give 60×9=560 calories per day.

    All this would add up to only 960 calories per day. Where is the rest 1040 (of the 2000 calories) supposed to come from? There must be something wrong somewhere.

  • ReNew Life

    I’m sorry you’re confused. The program is not calorie based, however it really does turn out, at the low end, to approx. 1200 calories per day and can go considerably higher, calorie-wise. I’m not sure where you got your numbers, but they’re incorrect for protein right off. Additionally, there’s no specific recommendation on fats. Good fats can increase calories easily when needed.
    Renew Life Support

  • David Kulikowski

    Can you show me an example of how many teaspoons of sugar from this example: 32 grams carbs – 7 grams of fiber divide by 5 = 5 teaspoons or is it the other way 20 teaspoons?



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