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Enemy of the Day: Sugar

October 15, 2016
Plain English Version

sugarThe U.S. government is saying how much sugar we should consume. They suggest that only 10 percent of the average person’s calories should come from sugar. That comes to about 12.5 teaspoons or 50 grams daily.

Further, they say you should know how much of the sugar in the food you are eating or drinking is natural to the product and how much has been added.

The sugar fight is on. Experts say you have to read the label. High-calorie sweeteners like sugar, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup are found in foods like sodas, cookies and candy. They are in foods like low-fat yogurt, granola and wholegrain bread. High-calorie sweeteners also are added to ketchup, pasta sauce, canned fruit, prepared soups, salad dressings and marinades.

The sugar industry does not agree with the new guidelines. They say that new labels will confuse people. Studies show that when “added sugar” is on the label, people tend not to buy the product.

An industry expert said that the human body treats all sugar the same way –whether it is natural or added. They say there is no need to change the labels.

Natural sugar has calcium, protein, vitamins or dietary fiber. Doctors say that added sugars are empty calories. They have no nutrients.

Another health group agrees with the 10 percent recommendation. However, they say it is okay to eat more sugar if it comes from fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Soft drinks are the main source of added sugar. However, sweetened coffee, tea, fruit drinks and sports drinks are also sources of added sugar.

Sugar is about 13.5 percent of our calories. The goal of 10 percent is not so far off. Younger people, blacks and the poor tend to consume higher amounts of sugar. They would need to make deeper cuts to reach the goal.

Source: The New York Times November 9, 2015

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