Sugar: Are You Pouring On the Pounds?

By Martin Brown

badsugarSugar and spice and everything nice?  Hardly.

At least, not the sugar part.

According to new  American Heart Association’s guidelines for “added sugars, if you’re an average American woman, even one can of regular soda contains more than the daily recommended amount of added sugar.

The ideal: most American women should eat or drink no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars according to the AHA. That’s about 25 grams, or six teaspoons, for women. For men, that’s about 37.5 grams, or nine teaspoons.

Unfortunately, the reality: most Americans today eat 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories per day) of added sugars.

Case in point: a 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 130 calories and eight teaspoons of sugar. That’s more than what’s recommended for the average American woman.

Lucky men can have more. (Until they look at themselves in the mirror, we should hope).

We pay heavy for sugar’s sins. It contributes to obesity, glucose intolerance, blood-pressure elevation, and dyslipidemia.

The AHA also points out that “excessive consumption of sugars has been linked with several metabolic abnormalities and adverse health conditions, as well as shortfalls of essential nutrients.”

Some good news: the guidelines differentiate between added sugars and naturally-occurring sugars.  For example, added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods during processing or preparation as well as sugars and syrups added at the table.

Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., the study’s lead author, puts it this way: “High intake of added sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars, is implicated in the rise in obesity. It’s also associated with increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and inflammation (a marker for heart disease).”

AHA’s Maximum Daily Added Sugar Recommendations

Most women 100 calories 25 grams 6 teaspoons
Most men 150 calories 37.5 grams 9 teaspoons
12 oz. can cola 130 calories 41 grams 8 teaspoons

For more info on the sugar content of foods and beverages check out this pdf from Harvard’s Nutrition Source and this article on WebMD. You may also visit Dr. Jade’s website at

We’d Want to Hear from YOU:

Is sugar your sin? Have you ever tried to cut it out, or cut down? And if you have a success story? Comment below…

More SMW Health and Diet Advice

Healthy Eating for Busy Lives

The Great Switch: Five Tips for Changing Bad Habits to Healthy Ones

Is Organic Really Better?

© All rights reserved. Permission to reprint this article must be obtained from