The American Heart Association has recently provided new recommendations for the amount of added sugar people should consume in their diet.
I've always thought I eat pretty healthy, but this new bit of news has me seriously reconsidering my dietary choices. According to the new recommendations, women shouldn't consume more than 100 calories (about 25 grams) of added sugars a day; men, 150. This averages out to about 6 teaspoons for women, and 9 teaspoons for men.
To give you a little perspective, a statement from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2001-2004 found the average intake of added sugars among Americans was 22.2 teaspoons (355 calories) a day.
If you are unsure of how to specifically define "added sugars", it means any sugar that is added to foods during processing and preparation, and any sugars and syrups added to the table. So basically, unless you eat all-natural, organic foods, almost everything you put in your mouth is going to have added sugars to it. Believe me, I'm all for all-natural eating. But, for the average person, the amount of time, planning, and (most of all) MONEY that sort of healthy-eating lifestyle entails does not exactly mesh well with everyday life.
One way to help curb your inadvertent sugar addiction? Quit knocking back those soft drinks. Soft drinks and other sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet.
As for me, I've always been good about eating lots of fruits and vegetables, but I'll definitely be reading labels a little more closely. I'm saving up those "discretionary" sugar calories for when that next chocolate craving hits.