The World Health Organization (WHO) is advising consumers to cut the recommended daily allotment of sugar in their diets by half, to combat obesity and tooth decay.
That’s about six teaspoons of sugar a day.
The new guidelines were released by the United Nations’ health agency and the recommended consumption levels for sugar remained at 10 percent of total daily calories — the same since 2002. But the report adds that consumers’ health would benefit if they cut sugar levels down to 5 percent.
So what does that look like in a day? Take a look at this example of a day of low-sugar meals:
Let’s start with 1 cup of Special K cereal for breakfast and 2 slices of bread; For lunch, a Big Mac sandwich (no french fries) from McDonald’s, and a glass of water ; For dinner, a sandwich or half-cup of spaghetti, or a cup oatmeal with fresh apples and cinnamon.
However, not many Americans follow such a restricted path, and sometimes add “little things” that can break the limit of the daily intake:
A small vanilla latte at Starbucks cafe would already put you over that limit with a 27 grams of sugar, and your favorite bar of chocolate can contain 32 grams of sugar. One can soda has a whopping 40 grams of the sweet white stuff.
The fact is that heavily processed and sweetened foods are a staple in the American diet. This has a lot to say about our burgeoning waistlines. About 72 percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily allotment: about 22 teaspoons of sugar or 350 calories, to be exact.
The WHO director of nutrition for health and development, Francesco Branca told ABC News, “It is definitely worsening. We calculate there’s a half a billion people that are affected by obesity and that is on the rise. We see more and more kids, even from early ages such as before five years, getting more and more overweight and obese, even in low- and middle-income countries.”
According to the report, more than 40 million children under age 5 are overweight, and tooth decay is on the rise, costing up to 10 percent of health-care budgets in Western nations.
S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook.com/TheReporterandTheGirl and visit her website at www.SCRhyne.com