Sugar Consumption is Out of Control in the U.S.

red soda canSugar consumption is a major cause of premature health problems in the U.S. Americans ingest more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar (355 calories) every day, according to the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. That’s two to three times what is recommended.

The American Heart Association has publicized their recommendations for men and women. The AHA says that most American women should not consume more than 100 calories of added sugar a day. Men should limit their intake to no more than 150 calories. One 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda is 130 calories. That’s more than the entire daily recommendation for women, and nearly all that is recommended for men.

“Sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories,” says lead author Rachel K. Johnson, associate provost and a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “Consuming foods and beverages with excessive amounts of added sugars displaces more nutritious foods and beverages for many people.”

Excess sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association says that the majority of added sugar in the American diet comes from sugar-laden drinks.

This is a fairly easy problem to resolve. While most health professionals won’t make it a point to recommend diet soda, it’s slightly better than the alternative. But an even better idea is to buy seltzer water, and splash it with some lemon, lime, or any other fruit flavor you like. It’s a zesty drink with no calories to speak of.

(via: Health Day)

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