association recommends cutting added sugar intake
The average American
ingests 22 teaspoons of sugar each day. Most of this sugar comes from added sugar sources. Added sugar means that
the source of sugar does not naturally occur in the food. Rather, it is added to the food or beverage to enhance
its flavor. The number one culprit for added sugar is soda pop (including colas, lemon lime, root beer, flavored
waters etc.), followed by candy, cookies, cakes and pies. Sweets, such as those listed, are common sources of added
sugar in the average American diet. 22 teaspoons of sugar is 355 calories, equal to drinking two cans of soda pop
and eating a chocolate bar.
The American Heart
Association (AHA) recommends the amount of added unnatural sources of sugar be reduced to no more then 6 teaspoons
per day for women and no more then 9 teaspoons per day for men. 6 teaspoons of sugar is 100 calories of added
sugar, and 9 teaspoons of sugar is 150 calories of added sugar.
For example 8 ounces of
a fruit type of flavored yogurt has about 100 calories worth of added sugar (6 teaspoons), one cup frosted type
cereal has approximately 3 teaspoons added sugar, and one 8 ounce serving of low-fat chocolate milk has about 4
teaspoons of added sugar. A 12-ounce can or bottle of soda pop contains 8 teaspoons of added sugar; this would be
over the recommended limit for women.
sugars can be considered okay if directly from the source such as fresh unprocessed fruit, but if it is dried, or
canned it most likely has added sugar. Added sugars may be listed on the ingredient list as sugar, corn syrup,
fructose, dextrose, molasses, and evaporated cane juice. For example a fruit cup has natural occurring sugars
contained in the fruit, but the fruit is submerged in a sugary syrup base, therefore having added
When looking at food labels, it can be very confusing to
determine what the added sugar is. As a rule of thumb, you can use the conversion of 4 grams of
granulated sugar equals approximately one teaspoon. So when looking at a bottle of G2 Gatorade that
says there are 17 grams of sugar, all of it is added and is the equivalent of 4 teaspoons.
The AHA has not put a
limit on the amount of added sugar children should consume, however the average boy between the ages of 14 and 18
years of age consumes 34 teaspoons of added sugar each day. Parents should be aware of the future consequences of
added sugar in a child’s diet, and limit the amount that their family consumes. Limiting sugar intake in the home
is the best way to accomplish this. Keeping soda out of your house will reduce your families added sugar intake
greatly. Substituting snacks like popcorn, cheese, fresh fruit, and veggies for cookies and sweets will also make a
big impact on your families added sugar consumption, and overall health.
Eating a healthy
balanced diet is the best way to maintain heart and whole health. On average, men need about 2,200 calories per
day, and women need about 1,800 calories per day. Since only a small percentage should be of added sugar (100
calories or less for women, and 150 calories or less for men), the rest of the calories should provide you with
essential nutrients needed to maintain your body functions.
September 2, 2009
Back to Oral Health Directory
Ready to appoint? Call Julie at (503) 378-0466,
orRequest An Appointment