“Sugar consumption is off the charts,” reports Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Added sugars—found largely in junk foods such as soft drinks, cakes, and cookies—squeeze healthier foods out of the diet. Sugar now accounts for 16 percent of the calories consumed by the average American and 20 percent of teenagers' calories.” A government study found that back in 1977–78, added sugars provided only 11 percent of the average person's calories.
According to the USDA, people consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat no more than about 10 teaspoons of added sugar. But USDA surveys show that the average American is consuming about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Soft drinks, which contain about nine teaspoons of sugar per 12-ounce can, are a leading contributor to increased sugar consumption.
Since 1942, when the American Medical Association (AMA) expressed concern about sweetened carbonated beverages, candy, and other foods rich in sugar but poor in nutrients, soft-drink consumption has increased about seven-fold (excluding diet soda), and overall sugar consumption has increased by one-third. “With all the focus on fat, we've forgotten about sugar. It's time to rethink our national infatuation with sweets,” concludes Jacobson.
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