Are We Too Sweet?

 

The world is hooked on sugar. Today’s average sugar intake is astounding. A United Press International news report recently reported the frightening statistic that the average American consumes about 22.2 tablespoons of sugar per day. That accounts for about 355 calories. The American Heart Association’s Added Sugar Conference 2010 reported that among both the 2-18 age group and 19+ age group added sugar from soda/energy/sports drinks. Both groups are consuming more than 30% of their sugar intake from this category, 31.8% and 37.1% respectively. According to the AHA, diets high in added sugars have been linked to increased weight and obesity, high blood pressure, increased triglycerides and cardiovascular disease. Check out this table for the extended breakdown of the major sources of sugar intake.

This pie chart breaks sources of added sugars in the US diet

New American Heart Association Guidelines for daily added sugar intake:

Adults- 6 to 9 teaspoons

Preschoolers- 4 teaspoons

Children- 3 teaspoons

Teens- 5-8 teaspoons

Average sugar in foods:

  • Cola: 9-10 teaspoons
  • Orange soda: 13 teaspoons
  • Hershey’s candy bar: 7 teaspoons
  • Chocholate milk: 6 teaspoons
  • 16oz lemon iced tea: 11.5 teaspoons
  • 6oz low-fat fruit yogurt: 7 teaspoons

Tips for reducing sugar intake:

  • Consuming as many fresh and minimally processed foods as possible with little or no added sugar.

  • Look for products that do not list sugars as the first few ingredients

  • limit sweetened beverage consumption

See the American Heart Association’s 2010 Added Sugar Conference Report

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