The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans reduce their intake of “added sugars.” About 16 percent of the total calories in the American diet comes from added sugars. The leading sources of these added sugars include soda/energy/sports drinks, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts, and candy.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that men consume more calories per day from added sugars (335 calorie average) than women (239 calorie average). Also, this study reported that young adults ages 20 to 39 consumed the most calories from added sugars compared to other age groups.
Added sugars are sugars added to foods during processing, preparation, and when eating. Natural sugars, on the other hand, are those found in fruit or white milk. Both are digested and used by the body in the same way. The difference is foods containing natural sugars typically have other health-promoting nutrients whereas foods with added sugars provide extra calories with few to no health-promoting nutrients.
By limiting your intake of foods with added sugars you will also decrease the amount of calories in your diet.
Examples of added sugars on food labels include:
- anhydrous dextrose
- brown sugar
- confectioner’s powdered sugar
- corn syrup
- corn syrup solids
- fructose sweetener
- high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- invert sugar
- liquid fructose
- malt syrup
- maple syrup
- nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
- pancake syrup
- raw sugar
- white granulated sugar