Women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugars per day (six teaspoons), and no more than 150 for most men (nine teaspoons), according to a statement by the American Heart Association (AHA), in the Aug.24 on-line edition of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Citing a report from the 2001-04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that showed the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was 355 calories per day (22.2 teaspoons) to illustrate the amount of sugar Americans consume, the AHA recommends that no more than half of a person's daily discretionary calorie allowance should come from added sugars. Discretionary calories refer to the number of calories "left over" after a person eats the recommended types and amounts of foods to meet nutrient requirements, such as fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, high-fiber whole grains, lean meat, poultry and fish.
"This new statement expands on earlier recommendations and gives consumers more detailed guidance by recommending a specific upper limit on added-sugars intake," said the statement's lead author Rachel K. Johnson, associate provost and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington. "It is important to remember that people's discretionary calorie 'budgets' can vary, depending on their activity level and energy needs," Johnson said. "So, if you can't live with the recommended limits on your added sugars, you'll have to move more."