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More Added Sugars, More Pounds?
Date:3/25/2011

from added sugars in 2007-2009, a nearly 38 percent increase from 1980-82. Women ate 13.4 percent of total calories from added sugars in 2007-2009, up from under 10 percent in 1980-82.

Women ate less added sugar than men and younger adults aged 25 to 39 ate more than older adults did. The BMI rose across the six surveys overall, with the greatest increase in those aged 25 to 39.

Wang concluded that "public health efforts should advise limiting added sugar intake."

"Added sugar contributes to extra calorie intake," Wang said.

How much is too much added sugar? Most women should eat no more than 100 calories of added sugars a day, according to the American Heart Association. Most men should consume no more than 150 calories of added sugars a day.

The study has some limitations, said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Dietetic Association.

Diekman wanted more information on how total calories changed, which would help explain the BMIs creeping up. "Another concern with this study is the use of 24-hour recalls, since we know people tend to have difficulty remembering, even within 24 hours, what and how much they eat."

Even so, Diekman said, added sugars do not provide much nutrition value. She suggests switching to alternative sweeteners to get the "sweet boost."

To avoid added sugars, you have to know which foods contain them, of course. Among the foods with added sugars that come as a surprise to people: granola bars, many smoothies and some trail mixes.

The study was presented at a medical meeting, and so the results should be viewed as preliminary because they have not undergone the rigorous scrutiny that studies published in medical journals typically do.

More information

To learn more about added sugars, visit the U
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