By Calvin Palmer
The American Heart Association today recommended that people should cut back on sugar consumption.
Women should eat no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day, or six teaspoons (25 grams), while most men should keep it to just 150 calories or nine teaspoons (37.5 grams).
A survey in 2004 showed the average American’s intake was 90 grams or 22 teaspoons of added sugar.
The recommendations apply to any sugar or sugar syrup added in food processing or at the table as opposed to sugar found naturally in food such as fruit.
The policy statement published in the journal Circulation takes aim at the $115 billion U.S. market for soft drinks, the number one source for added sugars.
Lead author Rachel Johnson of the University of Vermont said: “For the first time we’ve created specific recommendations about the amount of sugars that can be consumed in a heart-healthy diet.”
Too much sugar not only makes Americans fat but also is a key factor in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to the report.
“Over the past 30 years, total calorie intake has increased by an average of 150 to 300 calories per day, and approximately 50 percent of this increase comes from liquid calories (primarily sugar-sweetened beverages),” the report states.
One 12-ounce (0.35 liter) can of regular soda contains roughly 130 calories, which exceeds a woman’s daily discretionary sugar budget.
Experts say many studies have shown a correlation between higher intake of sweetened beverages and obesity.
Johnson said the report is not advocating the removal of added sugars from anyone’s diet.
“Sugars do add to the enjoyment and enhance the flavor of foods, but maybe it would be better choice to add your sugars in a sweetened whole grain cereal rather than in an empty-calorie soft drink or candy,” she said.
The food industry often blames increases in obesity on a sedentary lifestyle.
I blame obesity on a number of things: people eating for the sake of eating; the snack/fast-food culture; parents who give their children sweets and chips to keep them quiet; and people having absolutely no pride in their appearance and, worse of all, not caring about it.
In the meantime, I will continue with my four teaspoons of sugar in my mug of coffee and the accompanying cigarettes. And although the AHA will be aghast by such behavior, I can content myself with the knowledge that despite my sugar consumption, my waist measures 35 inches, a three-inch increase on what it was 35 years ago.
Even Rachel admits to liking chocolate and ice-cream; plenty of added sugar in both of those I would think. But like most sensible people, she will partake of those in moderation. And that is the key. Unfortunately, moderation is a word a lot of people have difficulty in comprehending.
[Based on a report by Reuters.]