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NewsBites February 2011 Issue

Extra Sugar Adds 475 Calories a Day

Nutrition experts have been warn- ing us to watch added sugars for at least a decade, but Americans are still struggling to follow that advice. Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, of the Univer- sity of Vermont, incoming chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, told a recent conference that Americans average 475 daily calories from added sugars. That’s far more than the AHA’s recommended maximum of 100 daily calories from added sugars for women and 150 for men—and equivalent to a whopping 30 teaspoons a day. “So we have a long way to go,” Johnson told attendees at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. Added sugars and solid fats total about 35% of the calories in the average diet, she added; the recommended maximum is 5%- 15%. To start scaling back on added sugars, Johnson advised simply avoiding sugary soft drinks, the source of about 36% of added sugars in the US diet. But don’t worry about naturally occurring sugars, such as in milk or plain versions of cereal or yogurt, she said. Check the label to see if sugar in any form is listed among the ingredients.

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