By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage
The American Heart Association is now encouraging that Americans end their love affair with sugar. The AHA guidelines recommend that women eat no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day and men eat no more than ten teaspoons of added sugar a day. That’s a 70 percent reduction in sugar consumption for the average American.
According to an article from by by LAUREN COX and COURTNEY HUTCHISON from the ABC News Medical Unit, “Experts Debate the Value of the American Heart Association’s Call to Cut Our Sugar Intake.”
“We know that soft drinks are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet. We really want Americans to start thinking about this,” said Dr. Rachel K. Johnson, lead author of the study.
“The high intake of added sugar has been implicated in a number of negative health outcomes, but primarily this targets obesity,” said Johnson. “Sugars have been implicated in high blood pressure and inflammation which are risk factors for heart disease.”
“Strictly from a health standpoint, sugar is a ‘triple threat’ – it provides extra calories, no nutrients, and it may displace other foods and nutrients in the diet that are more beneficial,” said Dr. Donald D. Hensrud, an associate professor of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition at the Mayo Clinic.
Johnson, the lead author of the study, hopes her recommendations translate into some good advice, even if the public isn’t counting grams of sugar every day.
“We’re not saying eliminate added sugar, we’re saying use them with discretion,” said Johnson.
“Try to use the added sugars with foods that will enhance the diet, for instance a sugared whole grain breakfast cereal or a sugar sweetened dairy product … they’re improving the flavor of the food in a healthy diet as opposed to [spending it on] things that don’t carry any other nutritional value, like soda or candy bars,” she said.