The Feds Recognize

By Dean L. Jones

Last week the U.S. Government’s Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture released new dietary guidelines.  To my surprise, this report for the first time formally recommends that people limit the amount of processed sugar that they eat to 10% of daily calories.

The shocker over this report on lessening sugar consumption centers around how long the government data has been showing that roughly 117 million Americans live with one or more preventable, chronic diseases that are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity.  PACE News has embraced this commentary for reducing processed sugar for greater than a decade, subsequently with the federal government’s declaration finally denouncing the dangers of sugar came as somewhat of a revelation.

Even so, these guidelines are worth reading as they go over a lifetime of healthy eating to help prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.  Specifically, healthy eating patterns that limit added processed sugars are reported as vital.  Less than 10% of a person’s daily calories should come from added sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.

The information is necessary to know as inexpensive sugary-filled foodstuff shows up quite often on store shelves.  For instance, I just saw where a 32-ounce bottle of a sports drink is selling for 99¢.  The serving size is 12-ounces with 21-grams of added sugar (5¼ teaspoons of sugar).  This one 99¢ bottle is normally going to be devoured all at once thereby consuming 63-grams of added sugar, or a total of 15¾ teaspoons of processed sugar.

This 99¢ purchase has a considerable amount of potential health damage to the human body, particularly if it is routinely consumed.  Although the government is behind on sharing the recommendation to closely monitor sugar intake, the American Heart Association (AHA) gave their formal advice nearly seven years ago.  That is that for most American women, the AHA recommends no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons of processed sugar, and for men, it is 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.

Without question, it is a huge challenge to avoid eating sugary items since to some extent or another added sugars hide in 74% of processed foods under more than 60 different names.  The highest packaged sugary filled items are drink powders, soft drinks, and instant sweetened lemon tea.  Followed closely by candies, dried fruit, cookies, cakes & pies, jams, preserves/spreads, processed cereals, fruit canned in syrup, packaged sauces/instant gravies, ice cream, frozen yogurt and milk shakes.

Strangely, with all of the many ways processed sugar has cloaked our large styles of eating that it can now be a harmful ingredient.  Nevertheless, the science necessitates how vital it is to live SugarAlert!
Dean is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.