The American Heart Association sounded an alarm today over sugar-rich diets amid a global epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease, singling out soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Based on observational studies linking soft-drink consumption to higher weight gain and lower nutrition, the group advises women to limit sugar to no more than 100 calories a day and men to no more than 150 calories a day from added sugars.
Added sugars mean sugars added during processing or preparation, including syrups added at the table. The usual intake of added sugars averaged about 22 teaspoons, or 355 calories, a day, according to a federal survey conducted from 2001 through 2004. For children ages 14 to 18, it was even higher: about 34 teaspoons or 549 calories a day.
Obesity specialist Dr. David Ludwig of Children's Hospital Boston called the recommendations appropriate and long overdue.
"It's a call for nutritional sanity and a return to dietary patterns that existed before the obesity epidemic, when everything we ate didn't need to be sugar sweetened," he said in an interview.
Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health also endorsed the recommendations.
"This is an important step forward," he said in an e-mail interview. "In translating this reduction of sugar into practice, the most important step someone can take is to eliminate soda and other sugary beverages from their diet."
For more on soft drinks and obesity, see this Globe story from Aug. 3.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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