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How much sugar can I eat every day?

Honey Maple Pecan Bars. (Deb Lindsey/For the Washington Post)

How important is it to limit your intake of sugars and carbohydrates, and what is the difference between a good or bad sugar? These were questions posed to dietitian and columnist Ellie Krieger during her recent online chat. Here are a few highlights about sugar to consider, adapted from that discussion:

Women should aim for a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Men should limit themselves to 9 teaspoons of sugar a day. There is about 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small (two-inch) cookie, and about 10 teaspoons in a 12-ounce soda.

● Avoid pre-sweetened foods such as flavored yogurts or bars if you want to have a small dessert.

Avoid refined sugar and stick to less-refined sweeteners with more minerals and antioxidants, such as honey, maple syrup and molasses.

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WASHINGTON, DC - Earl Grey Tea and Brandy Poached Pears photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post). (Deb Lindsey)

Good or bad, all types of sugars should be eaten sparingly.

● You don't need to cut dessert out entirely but should strive for a happy medium. "There is no need to go to extremes," Krieger said. "You should be able to have dessert here and there!"

Have a question for Krieger? Her next chat is Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. Submit your questions now and join us live.

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