The American Heart Association has recently released new guidelines for daily intake of added sugars, and they’re the most stringent of any major health organization to date.
The AHA is now recommending that women limit their intake of “added sugar” to no more than 25 grams per day and that men stay below 37 grams. Added sugars, which differ from the natural sugars found in fruit and 100% fruit juices, dairy products, and vegetables, are the sweeteners added to processed packaged foods and beverages.
The AHA published its stricter recommendations in light of rising sugar consumption and high-sugar diets being linked to insulin resistance, hypertension, high triglycerides, and type 2 diabetes. The AHA pointed to increasing rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease as sufficient cause to call for a population-wide decrease in the consumption of added sugars.
Added sugars are commonly found in:
- Regular soft drinks
- Cakes, cookies, and pies
- Fruit drinks, cocktails, and “-ades” (not 100% fruit juice)
- Dairy products like sweetened yogurt and ice cream
- Grain-based foods like cinnamon toast and sweetened cereal
Added sugars can be recognized on a nutrition label as:
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- sugar (dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose)
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt sugar
To avoid added sugars, stick with whole foods that are naturally sweetened and unprocessed. Avoid overly processed and packaged foods and read nutritional labels on any packaged foods you do eat to determine the dominant ingredients used. Look for foods labeled as low-sugar, sugar-free, or sugar-reduced.