More than one-third of U.S. adults are currently obese, according to the CDC. Consuming too much sugar is linked to increased risk for weight gain and obesity.
"It looks like at least some groups are getting the message, but some still have a high intake of added sugar," said study author Dr. Bethene Ervin, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md. "The message may be getting through to adults with higher income and education levels."
Still, Ervin said, this isn't good enough. "We need to make more efforts to reach specific groups that aren't making the changes as readily," she said. "These are empty calories, so it would be wise to make healthier food choices."
Dr. David Lam, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, agreed that there is tremendous room for improvement.
"We are on the higher end of the dietary recommendations for added sugar based on this data," he said. "We are seeing increases in obesity and diabetes, and these data tell us that we need to do a better job of limiting the added sugar in our diets."
This includes making healthy choices less expensive and more widely available, Lam said. "We are not where we need to be and we have to find things that we can change, such as increasing access to healthier foods," he said.
Check out the full U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
SOURCES: Bethene Ervin, Ph.D., R.D., nutritional epidemiologist, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics; David Lam, M.D., endocrinologist, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Connie Diekman, R.D., director of university nutrition, Washington University, St. Louis; May 1, 2013, Nation
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