Guest Blogger: Claudia Goytia, Government Relations Director, Greater Los Angeles
Late in 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued dietary guidelines on added sugar intake. These new dietary guidelines did not come about without a fight. Health advocates and the food and beverage industry played a significant role in shaping these dietary guidelines.
We, the AHA and our partners, are doing our part to urge all Americans to have a greater understanding of added sugar in our diets and the impact on our health. The USDA guidelines are a great start but based on AHA research the standards should be a little stronger, especially in regards to sugar. Based off the scientific statement in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, we recommend limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than 100 calories per day for women and no more than 150 calories per day for men. That is 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men.
For more information about sugar and its impact on your health, please visit here.
Here are some tips for taking control of your sugar intake are:
- Understand where sugar is hiding in the food you eat. Many items like bread, pasta and yogurt may have some kind of added sugar.
- Know the different types of names sugar can be labeled as, including high corn fructose syrup, agave, sucrose, and others. Please visit the link below for the complete list.
- Drink water and unsweetened beverages so that you are not adding extra calories to your meals.
- Avoid sugary beverages (sodas, energy drinks and similar products) because they are the number one source of added sugar in our diet. The average American drinks nearly 50 gallons of sugary beverages a year, equaling nearly 39 pounds of liquid sugar.
- If you crave sweets, have some fruit as a way to curb the desire for processed and added sugar. Fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth.
- For more tips on how to reduce you sugar intake, visit here.
As a local advocate working with community members, health coalitions, educators and policy makers to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, I have found that education on the topic of sugar intake is necessary in order to improve health in our community. Change in behavior, policy and attitudes begins with a simple conversation on sugar and how it impacts our diets.