August 25th, 2009

American Diet Too Sweet for the Heart’s Health

By Kelley Luckstein

sugarExperts Debate the Value of the American Heart Association's Call to Cut Our Sugar Intake

 

Sugar sneaks into so much of our food -- from spaghetti sauce to salad dressing or peanut butter treats -- that it can be near impossible to stop eating added sugars all together. Despite those arrays of pink, blue and yellow packets of sugar substitutes, the average American eats 19 percent more sugar today than in 1970.

 

Today, for the first time, the American Heart Association (AHA) wants the average American to take a break from this love affair. Under new recommendations the AHA advises women eat no more than about six teaspoons every day in added sugars and men eat no more than 10 teaspoons.

 

If Americans followed the guidelines, the average person would cut their added sugar consumption by more than 70 percent.

 

Many dietary specialists hailed the new guidelines. However some questioned whether making yet another complicated equation in the list of nutrition recommendations marketed to the public helps people eat healthier or just confuses the average consumer.

 

"Strictly from a health standpoint, sugar is a 'triple threat' - it provides extra calories, no nutrients, and it may displace other foods and nutrients in the diet that are more beneficial," said Dr. Donald D. Hensrud, an associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic.

ABC by Lauren Cox 8/25/2009

Tags: Endocrinology / Diabetes, Nutrition, sugar

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