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August 25, 2009

AHA Recommends "Prudent" Maximum Intakes of Empty Sugar Calories

Steve Stiles
August 24, 2009 (Dallas, Texas) — Soda pop drinkers of the world, lament!
New recommendations for maximum dietary intake of "added sugars," released today by the American Heart Association [1], are probably far more healthful than the much-higher current average intake in the US but aren't such a sweet deal for anyone fond of colas or root beer.
The statement goes beyond the organization's previously stated position that Americans should cut back on added sugar--that is, dietary sugar that isn't an intrinsic part of unprocessed food--to recommend "prudent upper limits" on daily intake. They vary by sex, age, and activity level, but the AHA puts them at 140 kcal for most American men and 100 kcal for most American women.
Those numbers assume the added sugar accounts for half a person's discretionary calorie allowance--that is, the difference between estimated calories needed to maintain weight and those "needed to maintain nutrient requirements." As part of this definition, the remaining discretionary calories come from "solid fats." Any consumed alcohol also counts and in the tallying would come out of discretionary calories from either source.
Regular soft drinks and other sweetened beverages are responsible for a third of added sugar intake in the US, according to the report, published online August 24, 2009 in Circulation and slated for its September 15, 2009 issue. It also provides an overview of main sources of added sugar, its most common forms, and a review of the literature on its recognized and potential contributions to obesity, glucose intolerance, blood-pressure elevation, and dyslipidemia.

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