In recent months, what is established by the Guides Food for Americans, has become a great reference in terms of health and nutrition. Finally, this document has been for many years published and updated by the federal government, specifically the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), every five years since 1980. This guide makes it easy for us to valuable nutritional advice on what to eat and drink to meet basic nutrient needs, promote health, and prevent chronic disease. It also focuses on those foods that are better to avoid and without a doubt, excessive consumption of sugar is one of the aspects that are most worrying in terms of health.
Each edition of the guide aims to reflect a most up-to-date view of nutrition science and provides “a customizable framework for healthy eating that can be adapted to meet personal, cultural and traditional preferences. Nevertheless Several registered dietitians, chronic disease physicians, academics, officials, and other health experts have raised concerns about some components of the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. First, the guidelines ignored the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s proposals to reduce the recommended alcohol intake for every American to one drink per day. They still state that only women should have no more than one drink a day, while men can drink up to two, despite conclusive evidence showing that limiting consumption to one drink a day for men could lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Second, another aspect that has been most worrying for health experts are the recommendations related to sugar intake. The guidelines state that Americans must limiting added sugar intake to no more than 10% of your total calories per day. The truth is that various specialists agree that there are several problems related to this recommendation. The first and most obvious is related to calorie intake ¿CHow many people can accurately assess how many calories they consume per day? Let’s be honest, the percentage of people who count daily calories is very low, which is totally normal. The second point is even more complicated How is a percentage of calories translated into common measurements of added sugar? It is another parameter that is practically impossible to measure for an ordinary person. Since the goal of the Dietary Guidelines is to provide the general public, as well as those working in federal agencies, public health, healthcare, education, and business, easily digestible health and diet recommendations, this is clearly difficult advice to follow. and quite troublesome.
The worst of all is that there is a bigger problem: It is a fact that most people should consume even less than the established 10% limit. It is also important to clarify which are those dangerous added sugars, a good parameter is to think of them as all those calories that we do not need, that is, they do not provide any nutritional value. Alcohol is a clear example, and a long list of industrial products that contain numerous processed sugars.
A healthy eating pattern focuses on nutrient-dense natural foods and allows for small room for maneuver for the foods and drinks that we usually consume for pleasure. Those foods have a place in the diet, but it is a tiny fraction compared to other foods. Based on this and similarly to the commotion that alcohol consumption caused, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended that the guidelines be amended to suggest that Americans consume less than 6% of calories from added sugars, citing high rates of obesity and chronic diseases directly related to excess sugar in the diet.
The truth is that we have been warned for many years about the serious consequences of following a sugary diet: it increases the risk of suffering from heart disease, dementia, cancer and type 2 diabetes, and of course it is one of the main reasons for weight gain, which leads to obesity. It is also related to other serious health problems, pFor example, a typical American diet rich in added sugars has been linked to anxiety and trouble sleeping. In addition, a high consumption of added sugars increases the risk of skin conditions such as wrinkles and acne.
How Much Sugar Should We Really Eat?
The answer is simple: we must limit and if possible avoid sugar intake added as much as possible. That does not mean that we cannot enjoy dessert occasionally, but never as part of our daily diet. Additionally, some experts advise following the recommendations established by the American Heart Association, consider it much more practical and beneficial.
– Limit added sugars to no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women and no more than 9 teaspoons per day for men. Since there are roughly four grams in each teaspoon of sugar, this translates to 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams per day for men. For more context: a 12-ounce soda contains 39 grams of added sugar, just in one can. This is the clear example to understand how easy it is to consume much more sugar without being very aware of it.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that added sugar doesn’t just come in junk and calorie foods, It is also usually added in some products that we usually consider as healthy. For example: a cup of oat milk has 7 grams of added sugar and a seemingly healthy brand of whole wheat bread has 10 grams per two slices. so yes You start the day with an oatmeal latte and a couple of slices of avocado toast, although it is normal to consider it a ‘healthy’ breakfast sadly it is close to the recommended daily limit for women.
That is why the main recommendation is to decide to take a healthier path that is part of a new lifestyle. Betting on selecting natural and nutrient-rich foods is much more sustainable than obsessing over counting calories or sugars. It is also important free ourselves from the consumption of processed and betting on cooking much more at home is an immense opportunity to have real control of how much sugar we consume per day.
– Choose a low or no sugar dessert. Sugary drinks, desserts, and sweets have been found to account for about 50% of added sugar intake. So if you usually consume them regularly, the best thing you can do is reduce your intake and go for the sugar-free variants. Today there are wonderful alternatives to achieve it more easily, it can also be a good time to create your own healthy desserts at home.
– Replace soft drinks with orange juice. In general, having the habit of drinking soft drinks on a daily basis is one of the worst habits for health, so the first step to eliminate them is to find a good replacement. Nutritionists recommend betting on 100% natural and fresh orange juice: lSoft drinks do not add anything other than sugar to the diet, on the other hand, orange juice has no added sugars and provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants “it is full of nutrients.”
– Cook at home. Taking the time to select the raw materials for our meals and create the habit of cooking at home is not only a relaxing and fun activity. It is the best measure of health, and in fact it is the most important tool to really have control of how much sugar we consume and especially from what sources we are obtaining it. Finally, the sugar naturally contained in fruits and vegetables is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. The one contained in processed foods only deteriorates our health.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.