Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that no more than 10% of daily calories consumed should come from sugar. And what that really means according to Dr. Francesco Branca, nutrition director at the WHO, is that “we should aim for 5% if we can”.
American adults currently consume around 150 pounds of sugar per person per year. 200 years ago the average American adult consumed 2 pounds per year. Now, if you conclude that the increase of life expectancy in the last 200 years is due to the health benefits of sugar you are unfortunately mistaken.
Humor aside, everyone knows that despite sugar being the primary source of energy for our body it is not very healthy to be consumed in large amounts. Sugar is known to increase tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes, and the risk to develop cancer just to name a few.
It’s not even just about candy. Take a look at the added amounts of sugar in your packaged foods. 1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup has 30 grams of added sugar. Picture the sugar content of a food or drink in form of the little sugar pouches you find in most coffee houses. 1 of those usually contains about 4 grams of sugar. Would you put 8 of those into your tomato soup? An 8 oz glass of orange juice has 41 grams of sugar. That’s 60 grams on a 12 oz glass. Would you put 15 sugar pouches into your coffee? Ouch!
While legislators and lobbyists are working on a “realistic” target around 10% (after all, who really wants to cut out two-thirds of their sugar intake?) , the London based campaign group Action on Sugar (actiononsugar.org) is pressing for 5% to become the firm recommendation.
“The group, led by international experts in metabolism and obesity, aims to make consumers more aware of ‘hidden sugars’, and to reduce sugar in food and drinks containing added sugars by 30% in the next three to five years”.
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