Most women should not consume more than 100 calories (six teaspoons) of added sugars per day, and most men should not consume more than 150 calories (nine teaspoons) per day, according to a statement recently released by the American Heart Association.
Added sugars, as opposed to sugars that occur naturally in food (such as fruit), are considered any type of sugar, corn syrup, molasses/honey, or fruit juice concentrate that are added to food during processing or preparation by food manufacturers or individuals.
According to the statement, a high intake of added sugars, as compared to naturally occurring sugars, is implicated in the rise in obesity. It also states that added sugars are also associated with an increased risk for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and inflammation (a marker for heart disease).
Note that the statement cites a report from the 2001–04 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which shows that the average intake of added sugars for all Americans is 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories). Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet, according to the statement.
Sugar is considered to be an empty-calorie food because it contains calories but does not provide any nutritional value. For example, if an individual consumes a soda as compared to a piece of whole-grain bread, the individual will not obtain the starch, vitamins, minerals, and fibers from the bread.