Most women should consume no more than 100 calories, or about six teaspoons, of added sugars per day and most men should consume no more than 150 calories, or about nine teaspoons, each day, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association. In contrast, a report from the 2001-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was about 22 teaspoons per day.
Published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the study classifies all sugars and syrups added to foods during processing or preparation, as well as sugars and syrups added at the table, as added sugars. It states that a high intake of added sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars, is implicated in the rise in obesity and also associated with increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and inflammation, which is a marker for heart disease.
Sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugars in Americans' diet, with one 12-ounce can of regular soda containing about 130 calories and eight teaspoons of sugar. Lead author Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., associate provost and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, says that sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories. This statement expands on earlier recommendations by recommending a specific upper limit on added-sugars intake and also recommends that no more than half of a person's daily discretionary calorie allowance come in the form of added sugars. Added sugars, solid fats in food, and alcoholic beverages are categorized as discretionary calories and should be eaten sparingly.
Scientific Position on Carbohydrates and Sugars, www.americanheart.org/nutrition/sugar