Study: Americans eat too much sugar

Dec. 14, 2011 at 12:09 AM

DALLAS, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Experts recommend women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, and men eat no more than 9 teaspoons, but Americans eat much more, researchers say.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said Americans consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day -- well over the American Heart Association recommendations -- 3.6 times the recommendation for women and 2.4 times that for men.

Much of the sugar comes from added sugars in foods. For instance, a can of regular soda has about 8 teaspoons of added sugar.

The typical American takes in 3,500 to 4,000 milligrams of sodium per day, but for those who eat most of their meals out, that total could be 6,000 mg. Dietary guidelines suggest consumption of no more than 2,400 mg, the equivalent of 1 teaspoon, per day.

Consumers can avoid excess sugar and sodium by limiting processed foods, prepared foods and sugar-laden treats such as cakes, cookies and pies, Sandon said.

"Smart food consumers should also read food labels for sugar and sodium content, making small but significant changes such as buying fruit juice without added sugar," Sandon said in a statement. "If too many sugary foods take the place of healthy foods in the diet, then you miss out on getting the nutrition your body needs for optimal health."

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