Heart-health group advises sugar limits
Soda, candy the most conspicuous culprits
DALLAS – A spoonful of sugar? Americans are swallowing 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, and it’s time to cut way back, the American Heart Association says.
Most of that added sugar comes from soft drinks and candy – a whopping 355 calories and the equivalent of guzzling two cans of soda and eating a chocolate bar.
By comparison, most women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons a day, or 100 calories, of added sugar – the sweeteners and syrups that are added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table. For most men, the recommended limit is 9 teaspoons, or 150 calories, the heart group says.
The guidelines do not apply to naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruit, vegetables or dairy products.
Rachel K. Johnson, lead author of the statement published online Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, said it was time to give specific advice on how much added sugar Americans should be getting, not just advising moderation.
“Take a good hard look at your diet,” said Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “Figure out where the sources of added sugars are and think about how to cut back on that.”
The biggest culprits for the glut of sugar? Soft drinks by far, followed by candy, cakes, cookies and pies.
With about 8 teaspoons of added sugar, a regular 12-ounce soft drink will put most women over the recommended daily limit.
Calculating one’s sugar intake can be tricky as the government doesn’t require labels to differentiate added sugars from naturally occurring sugars, said Johnson.
To check for added sugar, look for a variety of ingredients including sugar, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, molasses or evaporated cane juice on the label.
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