We all ask for two spoonfuls of sugar rather than the same amount in grams – but would typical consumers prefer to use that measuring system all of the time?
Sugar. It’s something that dieters dread, kids love and we all know is bad for us in large amounts. When we read a label, it can sometimes be difficult to know just how much sugar a product contains. Yes, we know that there are percentages and figures out there that tell us much we should have, but when you are dashing around the supermarket before you go to pick up the kids from school, it would be good to make a decision that doesn’t require a lot of mental arithmetic. There are a growing number of people who believe that sugar content should be listed in teaspoons rather than grams on product labels, so that you can easily deduct them from your recommended daily allowance.
A teaspoon is a measurement we all recognise
For most of us, when we go to add sugar to a cup of tea or our morning bowl of cereal, a teaspoon is our measuring instrument of choice. For some, it’s three sugars in their cuppa, or the barest dusting over their cornflakes. However much you like, a teaspoon is an easy and universal way of measuring it. After all, when someone is asked how much sugar they would like in their hot drink, nobody asks for eight grams instead of two tablespoons do they? How easy would it be to include this on a nutrition label though?
Converting teaspoons to grams
What a lot of people don’t realise is that there is a way of converting teaspoons into grams. Each teaspoon of sugar equates to roughly four grams, so you can then go about converting that into calories. For every gram of sugar, there are 4 calories. So how many does that mean a teaspoon contains? If you do a quick bit of multiplying, it comes to 16. So if there are 16 calories in a teaspoon, how much easier would you find it to simply count the number of teaspoons that you consume in a day? Well, it depends entirely on what you’re eating.
Teaspoons and grams have their benefits
When you do measure your intake by the teaspoon with foods such as granulated sugar, honey, syrup or other sugar alternatives, a teaspoon measurement on the label would certainly be handy. Provided that you know how many calories or grams the teaspoon equates to, it would be an effective way to count the amount you’re consuming. A teaspoon is an easy way for kids to measure their intake too, so it could be useful if you want to instil healthy eating habits in them from an early age. For those very same foods though, a grams measurement is equally helpful, especially if you are baking or cooking and the recipe uses grams. Recommended daily amounts are also included on labels too, so it’s easy to see how much a certain amount takes out of that allowance.
It’s a personal preference
What works for one person may not for another, and there are pros and cons to each argument. Teaspoons can vary in size, but then not everyone may have a pair of scales to hand. Perhaps if both were included on labels nutrition would be much more straightforward!
Tammy Wiltshire is the Marketing Manager for one of the leading manufacturers of swing tags, self-adhesive labels and admission tickets – Labelnet.