Added sugar is the ingredient label describing a non nutritive calorie source in food items. The term added sugar refers to sugars and syrups mixed into food and drinks during processing and preparation and include candy, soft drinks, sports drinks, pasta and condiments. A new study has detailed that the amount of sugars added to the American Diet has increased by 30% over the last thirty years.
“Added sugars increase excess energy and reduce nutrient density in our diets, often contributing to weight gain and obesity,” said study author Elyse Powell, Royster Fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who identified a peak in added sugar consumption from 2003-04 and then a slight decline leading up to 2009-10. “Many American adults and children are consuming so much added sugar, that despite recent declines, consumption is still well above the recommended amount.”
The term “added” is key, because there are other sugars that occur naturally in healthy, nutritious foods, such as milk and fruits.
“We’ve long known that the high amount of added sugars in our diets is concerning; and the 30% increase is only the average consumption among adult Americans,” continued Ms. Powell. “Even more alarming is the fact that the top 20% of adult consumers are eating 721 calories from added sugar per day, on average. This is equally alarming for the top 20% of children who are consuming on average 673 calories from added sugar per day”.
“Added sugars pack non-nutritive calories into foods and can lead to weight gain,” said Jason Block, MD, of Harvard Medical School speaking on behalf of The Obesity Society. “And as we work to address the issue, we also need to think about calorie (or energy) density in foods. Foods that are high in sugars and fats and lower in water content provide excess calories per unit of weight — they are referred to as energy dense foods.