American Heart Association sugar recommendations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

American Heart Association sugar recommendations

We all know too much of anything can be bad, especially when it comes to sugar.  Now, for the first time, the American Heart Association is providing recommendations for specific levels on the consumption of food when sugar has been added.

"Obesity is practically an epidemic.  Obesity is almost root and cause for a lot of diseases especially heart disease," registered dietitian Elizabeth Penniman said.

On average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.  That's roughly 335 calories.  That equals two cans of soda, and a chocolate bar.

The American Heart Association says that's too much, and recommends a dramatic decrease in sugar intake.  For women: 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day and for men: 9 teaspoons or 150 calories.

"There is a lot of excess sugar in our diets that is going to be difficult for us to eliminate," Penniman said.

Sugar and other sweeteners are added not only to treats like ice cream, and funnel cakes,
but to frozen dishes, energy drinks, cereal and list of other food many may think is good for you.

"We are already getting sugar that we need from our fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates that we need so there is really no additional need to go out and obtain excess sugar in our diet," Penniman said.

High intake of added sugar as opposed to naturally occurring sugar like in fruit, is also associated with increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Nutritionists recommend more fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.  Changing habits away from sugar they say won't be easy but consider the payoff: a healthier life.


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