American adults consume 13% of their calories in the form of added sugars, a new study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey finds.
As distinct from natural sugar and table sugar, like the kind you might add to your morning coffee, added sugars are sweets added during processing or preparation, such as in cake and regular soda.
The overall trend among American adults, however, is less sugar consumption, despite even the sugariest of recent omens.
But the 13% figure is still very high, according to health experts.
Men consume 335 calories per day as added sugar, and women consume 239 calories per day as added sugar.
Two thirds of that added sugar comes from food, and the other third comes from beverages.
"These results may underestimate the actual sugar intake because people may add sugar to cereal in the morning and to beverages such as coffee and tea," said Bethene Ervin, the study's lead author and a nutritional epidemiologist with the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Heart Association warns that adults consume too many added sugar calories. The group recommends no more than 150 calories from added sugar for men (about nine tablespoons), and for women no more than 100 calories from added sugar (about six tablespoons).
High sugar intake can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other conditions.
"Most of us don't have room in our diets for this many calories from added sugars," said Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont. "There is a small glimmer of hope that added sugar consumption is declining modestly due to the reduction in full-calorie soft drinks, but the amount people are consuming is still substantially higher than it should be."
The results of the recent study emerged from interviews with about 15,700 adults, ages 20 and older, conducted between 2005 and 2010.
You may encounter added sugars in cakes, candy, cookies, muffins, jams, chocolates, ice cream, sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, flavored milk, and alcoholic beverages, reports The Cincinnati Enquirer.