For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending Americans limit how much added sugar we eat and drink every day, according to a New York Times article — a shift that could potentially help Americans reduce their cancer risk.
The FDA is recommending we limit our added sugars to no more than 10 percent of daily calories. For an adult on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s about 50 grams a day, about the amount in one can of soda or some flavored coffee lattes.
The new guidelines will make their way onto foods’ Nutrition Labels, where shoppers will be able to distinguish between sugars added to the food and those that are natural to the food. Fruits and milk all contain natural sugars.
For cancer risk, arming shoppers with more information on added sugars is important because foods and drinks with too much sugar can lead to excess body fat. These added sugars are often lurking in foods that are seemingly healthy, such as fruit drinks and yogurts. Fruits come with nutrients and other compounds that play a role in reducing cancer risk.
Currently, about two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese in our country. Overweight and obesity is a cause of approximately 122,000 of the most common cancers each year.
For now, you can use The many names of added sugar, listed in the image above, to spot added sugars in the ingredient list.
If you want to know how much sugar food manufacturers are adding to your foods, today’s your last day to tell the FDA. That could make a difference to how much added sugars people consume, suggests a recent study, which found that Americans are getting far more of our added sugars from sugary beverages than desserts or candy combined. And, for the most part, we are purchasing those sugary products from stores.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that almost 15 percent of Americans’ daily calories comes from sugars added to our foods or drinks.
For cancer prevention, cutting down on sugary beverages is one of AICR’s 10 recommendations. Sugary sodas and other beverages link to weight gain, and being overweight links to increased risk of eight cancers.
In an average American’s day, sodas and energy sports drinks was the largest source of added sugars, making up 34 percent. Grain desserts, such as cookies and other baked goods, was the next largest category coming in at 13 percent; fruit drinks, candy and dairy desserts followed, at 8, 7 and 6 percent, respectively.
Cutting through diet and cancer headlines and hype isn’t easy for anyone, including your health care providers. They also look for help understanding the evidence and putting the latest studies in perspective.
Last month I was in Atlanta, talking about obesity and cancer with dietitians who work with all kinds of people, from kids to seniors, and doing prevention, clinical work, food service and more. Here are a few common questions they asked, reflecting the questions they get from patients, clients and friends.
1. Grilling: How bad is charring for cancer risk and should we still grill?
AICR’s expert report and updates say there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meat increases risk for stomach cancer. But we do know that grilling meat – both red and white – creates cancer-causing substances, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. Because there are ways to limit these substances forming, we recommend 5 ways you can grill more safely. Continue reading