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Johnson concedes that sugar does play an important role in enhancing the taste of food, adding: "If you feel like, 'I just can't live with this low amount of sugar in my diet,' then what you need to do is up your energy needs."
In other words, she said, get moving. A man in his early 20s who walks more than three miles a day could consume about 288 calories, or about 18 teaspoons, of added sugar.
The statement says data indicates added sugar is contributing to Americans consuming too many discretionary calories -- the number of calories remaining after a person eats the foods needed to meet nutrient requirements.
"We know for sure that if you are consuming excessive amounts of added sugar, you will add calories, which leads to weight gain, or you will displace other essential nutrients," she said.
On average, most women need about 1,800 calories a day and most men need about 2,200, Johnson said.
If someone drinks their daily calorie needs in soft drinks, they will be maintaining their weight, but won't be getting any nutrients, she said.
Wahida Karmally, nutrition director at Columbia University's Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, said that with these guidelines, it's important to remember overall moderation. Some people, for instance, might be doing fine in their sugar consumption but are overdoing it on fat.
"I don't want people to go back thinking if I just cut back on teaspoons of sugar I'm going to be very healthy," she said.
On the Net:
American Heart Association, http://www.americanheart.org/nutrition/sugar/
U.S. Department of Agriculture's database listing added sugars in certain foods,
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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