Blog Post for: Kathryn Henderson, PhD
09/10/2009 | Kathryn Henderson, PhD
Applause for the American Heart Association
I just read through the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Statement on dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health – kudos to the AHA!
The report states very clearly that added sugar should make up no more than 50% of a person’s discretionary calories, which are the number of calories an individual has to spend on “extras” after meeting basic nutritional requirements (read more about discretionary calories here). This translates into approximately 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories for men. (As a side note, applause for highlighting recommended limits on discretionary calories).
Finally a firm and concrete stance on sugar – no waffling with the “everything in moderation” motto. One additional piece I’d like to have seen in the statement is clear examples of what 100 or 150 calories of added sugar amounts to. I think most readers would be very surprised. U.S. News and World report has helpfully detailed some examples, such as baked beans (15 grams in a one-cup serving) and ketchup (12 grams in just a quarter-cup). To calculate added sugar for yourself, just remember that 1 gram of sugar equals 4 calories, so the limit for women would be 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of sugar (37 ½ grams or 9 teaspoons for men).
I would have liked to have seen the AHA set recommended sugar limits specifically for children…perhaps coming soon?