Readers who decry "the nanny state" are not going to be happy with the latest American Heart Association release, stating we are a bunch of sugarholics and our habit is killing us.
The recommendations are stiff. Only 100-150 calories of sugar per day? A single soda contains 130.
The accompanying scientific report identifies the real villain, not sugar but high fructose corn syrup, which from a dietary standpoint is just like sugar and is used in other products like fruit drinks, yogurt and mixed drinks.
A Washington Post story on the announcement adds some other sources of sugar you may not be aware of, like spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, and all kinds of packaged foods. Labeling laws require sugar content be listed in grams, but processors may list refined and natural sugars separately.
There is an irony here. American sugar costs more than sugar elsewhere, due to tariffs meant to protect domestic supplies. Thus there is a growing gray market for "real Coca-Cola" from Mexico, which uses cane sugar instead of corn syrup.
As people come to America, moreover, they adapt to the American diet, becoming sugarholics. A classic 1995 study showed second-generation Mexican immigrants had much worse diets than their mothers, mainly due to added sugar. Since then the problem has only grown worse.
Let me finish by bringing this story home. My wife loves Dr Pepper. She drinks it instead of coffee. She is proud of holding herself to 2 cans a day, and in the evening she prefers salty snacks.
But she's still doing double her total recommended sugar intake, just from those two cans of soda.
Wish me luck getting her to cut back.
Good luck to you, too.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com