Wednesday, August 26, 2009

American Heart Association Recommends Less Sugar

The American Heart Association, "Recommends reduced intake of added sugars. Study highlights:
  • High intake of added sugars is implicated in numerous poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Added sugars and solid fats in food, as well as alcoholic beverages are categorized as “discretionary calories” and should be eaten sparingly.
  • Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugars per day; most men, no more than 150 calories.
  • Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet.
'Sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories,' Johnson said. 'Consuming foods and beverages with excessive amounts of added sugars displaces more nutritious foods and beverages for many people.' The statement says that most women should consume no more than 100 calories (about 25 grams) of added sugars per day. Most men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 37.5 grams) each day. That’s about six teaspoons of added sugar a day for women and nine for men. In contrast, the statement cites a report from the 2001–04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that showed the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories)."

If on average we are eating over 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the AHA is recommending women reduce sugar intake to 6 teaspoons and men reduce to 9 teaspoons, this is a DRASTIC REDUCTION IN THE DAILY AMOUNT OF SUGAR WE OUGHT TO BE EATING.

For women, this means cutting back our sugar intake by 73%.


Here's a pie chart to illustrate just how much the AHA is recommending we cut back.

This huge percentage is a sign that sugar has wedged itself as an all too common ingredient in people's diets. The data is interesting; the average daily intake is from a report dated 2001-2004. We are probably eating more sugar now than then, but that is the current data we have.

Not only do we have to make a change, the AHA is suggesting we make a drastic change. Our health and the health of our children depends on it. Cutting our sugar consumption in half is not enough.

As we enter into the "Age of Transparency" cutting down on sugar should become easier. As we, the consumer, demand more nutritious foods and less sugary junk food, the food producers will scramble to satisfy our demand. This is not going to happen overnight, but I have high hopes that the pendulum will swing in favor of health food. For the AHA to make such a giant statement about sugar, it is a sign that we are already heading in that direction, or my blog must be very convincing.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Ahhh, yes. I just have to share this with you - a post I wrote after my old company brought sundaes in to celebrate Go Red. Nails on a chalkboard!!!