Americans Drinking Less Soda, Consuming Less Sugar
Despite the increases in childhood obesity in the United States, Americans are technically consuming less sugar than they did about a decade earlier, according to a new report.
And two-thirds of this decrease is due to people drinking fewer sugar-sweetened sodas.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that the percentage of our diets that is comprised of sugar dropped from 18 percent between 1999 and 2000 to 14.6 percent between 2007 and 2008.
"We were surprised to see that there was a substantial reduction over the years," study researcher Dr. Jean Welsh, of Emory University in Atlanta, told Reuters.
Researchers analyzed data from a study of 42,316 people ages 2 and older to see how much added sugar -- that is, sugars that are not naturally included in foods, like fruit -- they consumed.
People consumed about 100 grams of added sugar a day during 1999 to 2000, while they consumed 77 grams of added sugar a day during 2007 to 2008, Reuters reported.
But while this study shows that we're technically consuming less sugar, that doesn't mean that the total amount we consume is low. An American Heart Association statement in 2009 said that Americans consume the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, with teens consuming 34 teaspoons a day.
But women should only be getting, at the most, 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, while men should only be getting 9 teaspoons a day, the AP reported.
"Take a good hard look at your diet," statement author Rachel K. Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, told the AP. "Figure out where the sources of added sugars are and think about how to cut back on that."
All this is not to say that sugar is inherently evil though, David Katz, M.D. director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, wrote on The Huffington Post. Rather, it's the AMOUNT of sugar that we consume that causes the problems: "An excess of sugar -- fructose or any other -- is harmful. That is what "excess" means. The dose makes the poison."