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How Sweet It Aint

By on December 16, 2011

How many sodas do you drink a day? What about sugar in your coffee? Betcha you consume more sugar than you think you do.  Probably more salt too. According to researchers, Americans consume way more sugar than they should.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says 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.”

Managing sugar intake is expecially a concern for African Americans because of the disparity in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Consider making small changes in your grocery list and cooking habits, it could save your life.

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