Go to your kitchen, find a teaspoon, and picture yourself swallowing 30 spoonfuls of sugar every day. Sounds insane, right? The sad part is, for the majority of Americans, that’s exactly how much sugar we’re consuming on a regular basis. News flash: That’s A LOT. And it ain’t good for us. 

Consuming added sugar messes with pretty much everything in your body: from skin issues and headaches to insulin levels and metabolism to a greater risk for obesity and other diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Oh, and let’s not forget about its potential to raise blood pressure, increase cholesterol, impair cognitive function, and wreck teeth.  You get the point. We know we need to cut back on the stuff, but knowing doesn’t mean doing. Getting sugar consumption under control can feel overwhelming, and half the time we don’t even realize we’re eating it.

So how much should we be eating? The American Heart Association recommends women take in less than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day (about 25 grams) and men stick to less than 9 teaspoons (about 36 grams). Want to know what it looks like to eat 25 grams versus 50 grams in one day? Check out these charts; it may surprise you. The sweet stuff is everywhere, and it’s hard to give up. Findings suggest it can even be more addictive than cocaine (say whaaaa?!). So how the heck do you get from point A (sugar fiend) to point B (less of a sugar fiend)?

There’s no right or wrong way, of course. But taking baby steps can make cutting down on sugar feel more manageable, says Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., author of Eating in Color.

CLICK HERE to for steps to cut your sugar intake.