Is Sugar Bad for Your Heart?
Improve heart health by reducing added sugars in your diet.
Recently the AHA recommended limiting added sugars, advising that women eat no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, or about 6 teaspoons, and men should stick to less than 150 calories, approximately 9 teaspoons. (A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons.)
These recommendations apply only to added sugars, which supply calories but no nutritional value, and not to sugars that occur naturally in healthful foods (fructose in fruits, lactose in dairy). It’s fairly easy to keep track of sugars you add yourself. Added sugars in processed foods are more difficult to track. “Sugars” on Nutrition Facts panels include natural and added sugars. Check the ingredient list for sugar and all its aliases: corn syrup, honey, molasses, etc. In general, the closer sugars are to the top of the list, the more the food contains.
Here’s a list of sugars added to processed foods:
- Corn sweetener or syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Syrup and sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
EatingWell is now listing added sugars in our recipe analyses.
Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., is the Nutrition Editor at EatingWell.