Honey. Maple syrup. Molasses. High fructose corn syrup. All of
these are "added sugars," and you are probably
eating — and drinking — too much of them.
the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. Researchers at the CDC’s National Center for
Health Statistics examined survey data from thousands of
American adults to figure out whether we’re following the
2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines advise
us to limit our total intake of added sugars, fats and other
"discretionary calories" to between 5 percent and 15
percent of total calories consumed every day.
should come as no surprise that Americans as a whole are
blowing past the 15 percent limit. In fact, the new report
finds that from 2005 to 2010 we got 13 percent of our total
calories from added sugar alone, according to the CDC report.
This is a problem not just because sugar is full of calories
that cause us to gain weight, but because sugary items often
displace fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain
men consumed more sugar per day (an average of 335 calories)
than women (239), the researchers found. But as a percentage
of total calories consumed per day, men and women were pretty
even — 12.7 percent vs. 13.2 percent.
tended to eat the most sugar in their 20s and 30s, with
consumption falling steadily over time. For instance, men
between 20 and 39 ate and drank 397 calories of added sugar
per day, on average, while men in their 40s and 50s consumed
an average of 338 such calories per day and men in the 60+
crowd consumed 224 calories of added sugar daily. For women,
the daily consumption peaked at 275 calories in the 20-39 age
group before falling to 236 calories for those 40 to 59 and a
mere 182 calories for those 60 and older. For both men and
women, added sugar’s contribution to total calories fell
steadily from the 14 percent range to the 11 percent range.
Americans got more of their calories from added sugars —
14.5 percent for men and 15.2 percent for women —
than whites (12.8 percent for men, 13.2 percent for women) or
Mexican Americans (12.9 percent for men, 12.6 percent for
women). The differences between whites and Mexican Americans
were not statistically significant.
researchers also discovered that the poorer people were, the
bigger the role that added sugars played in their diets. Women
in the lowest income category got 15.7 percent of their
calories from sugar, compared with 13.4 percent for women in
the middle income category and 11.6 percent for women with the
highest incomes. For men, the corresponding figures were 14.1
percent, 13.6 percent and 11.5 percent.
sugar-sweetened soda is the single biggest source of added
sugars in the American diet, beverages overall accounted for
only one-third of added sugars consumed by adults, compared
with two-thirds from food. In addition, about 67 percent of
added sugars from food were eaten at home, along with 58
percent of added sugars from drinks.
researchers noted some differences between their findings for
adults and what other studies have reported about children and
teens. For example, the contribution of added sugars to total
daily calories was comparable for black and white children and
lower for Mexican-American children. And, children and teens
of all income levels get the same proportion of daily calories
from added sugars.
sugars do not include the sugars that occur naturally in fruit
and milk. As the name implies, added sugars are used as
ingredients in prepared and processed foods and drinks. For
the sake of the analysis, other forms of added sugar included
brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, malt
syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, liquid fructose,
anhydrous dextrose, crystal dextrose and dextrin.