by Shahreen Abedin
MONDAY, Aug. 24, 2009 (Health.com) – If you're like most Americans, today you're consuming 22 teaspoons or 355 calories of added sugar. Now, the American Heart Association (AHA) would like you to reduce your expenses considerably.
For the first time, the group issues recommendations that most women should not consume more than 6 teaspoons (about 100 calories or 25 grams) of added sugar per day, and most men do not consume more than 9 teaspoons (about 150 calories or 37.5 grams).
But here's the tricky part: The added sugar does not just include the white table sugar that you could spoon. a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal, but also sugar added to food and drinks before you even buy them. Added sugar is commonly found in soft drinks, sweets, cakes and cookies (though it hides in many types of foods, including yogurts and even muesli).
Some of the most common added sugars are corn sweeteners, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose and syrup. In contrast, the most common natural sugars are fructose and lactose, found in fruits and dairy products, respectively.
The new guidelines were published Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
According to Rachel Johnson, the main author of the added sugar traps is that they provide empty calories and they tend to replace other nutrient-rich foods in our diet. "Since most of us lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle, the foods we eat must contain nutrients," says Johnson, a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, at Burlington.
Next Page: How to Tell If Foods Added Sugar
One of the Specific Challenges of Limiting added sugars is simply to recognize them. Food manufacturers should not list the amount of added sugar on products, says Johnson. Instead, the added sugars are grouped with natural sources and usually grouped under the name of "total sugars".
Johnson suggests identifying the sweet foods that your family consumes most often and investigating their specific sugar content, either by searching the product's website online or by consulting the USDA database on food composition .
Although the added sugar is not directly related to heart disease, it is associated with risk factors such as overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure. High levels of C-reactive protein, related to oxidative stress and inflammation, says Linda Van Horn, Registered Dietitian and Chair of the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.
In contrast, foods containing natural sugars provide nutrients while satisfying our craving for sweetness. For example, fruits contain essential vitamins and minerals as well as protective agents called phytonutrients, such as carotenoids and polyphenols; dairy products contain calcium, protein, vitamin D and more.
In the past, there was little official guidance on the amount of added sugar, that's too much. The American Heart Association went so far as to recommend people to "limit added sugars" or consume them "in moderation". According to the USDA, an average diet of 2,000 calories per adult, 10 teaspoons of added sugar, or about 40 grams, is the maximum.
How to reduce added sugars? The number one strategy is to eliminate or at least reduce the largest source of extra sugar in our diet: soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. For example, a can of soda contains 130 calories and 8 teaspoons of added sugar.
Soft drinks containing artificial sweeteners can be used as a "transitional drink" to help reduce the number of sugary drinks consumed, recommends Johnson. Water, unsweetened iced tea and low-fat milk are even better substitutes for baking soda.
Another tactic: limit processed foods and choose as many fresh, whole, unwrapped and unprocessed foods. can, like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.
Next Page: Avoiding Overly Fine Food Can Help
Elisa Zied, Dietitian and Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, Declares that staying away from very refined foods means "you will not save too much sugar, but you will also reduce the risk of overloading sodium, fats and calories in general. "
You can" save "your added sugar calories and use them to enhance the taste of healthy foods, says Zied. For example, reserve your sugar supplement for nutrient-rich choices, such as fruit-flavored yogurt, chocolate milk or whole wheat ice-cream.
According to the AHA, the recommended limits for men and women are a rough estimate. According to them, the daily intake of added sugars from a person should not exceed half of the daily intake of discretionary calories, that is to say the calories that remain after the Recommended food consumption for a healthy diet, such as fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole fiber fiber, fish and lean meats.
You can calculate your own daily dose of discretionary calories on the USDA website using several factors, including age, sex, weight, the size level of physical activity. Parents who are wondering about the appropriate amount of added sugars to their children can also visit the same website.
In addition to sweet sodas, fruit juices and fruit drinks are common sugar traps for children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). According to the APA, not only do they bring less nutritional benefits than whole fruits, but sugary drinks are also associated with malnutrition, tooth decay and stomach problems such as diarrhea. diarrhea and gassing of some children.
% of fruit juice and stay away from fruit drinks, according to their instructions . Children 1-6 years old should not consume more than 4-6 ounces of fruit juice per day; the limit for older children is between 8 and 12 ounces; babies under 6 months of age should not drink juice at all.