A new report finds that Americans are consuming less sugar than they did about a decade ago. About two-thirds of this decrease is the result of people drinking fewer sugar-sweetened sodas.
The percentage of sugar in the U.S. diet dropped from 18 percent between 1999 and 2000 to 14.6 percent between 2007 and 2008. Researchers analyzed data from a study of more than 42,000 and calculated that Americans consumed about 100 grams of added sugar a day during 1999/2000, while they consumed 77 grams of added sugar a day during 2007/2008.
According to the Huffington Post:
"But while this study shows that we're technically consuming less sugar, that doesn't mean that the total amount we consume is low. An American Heart Association statement in 2009 said that Americans consume the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, with teens consuming 34 teaspoons a day."
While all sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages may promote the development of obesity, it has been theorized that drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup may be particularly detrimental to health, as they contain fructose in its 'free' monosaccharide form.
A new experiment tested whether consuming 'free' fructose had a greater impact on body weight and metabolic abnormalities than when consumed 'bound' within the disaccharide sucrose. When rats were given access to sugar beverages, they all consumed 20 percent more calories, developed larger abdominal fat pads and higher triglyceride levels and exhibited impaired insulin/glucose homeostasis. However, the rats with a higher fructose intake fared worse.
According to the study, as reported by Green Med Info:
"A metabolic profile indicating increased risk of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease was observed in animals given access to sugar-sweetened beverages. Notably, 'free' fructose disrupted glucose homeostasis more than did 'bound' fructose, thus posing a greater risk of progression to type 2 diabetes."
Separate research has also determined that adults who consumed high fructose corn syrup for two weeks as 25 percent of their caloric intake had increased blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. These have been shown to be indicators of increased risk for heart disease.
The "Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010" suggest an upper limit of 25 percent or less of daily calories consumed as added sugar. To investigate this advice, researchers examined what happened when young adults consumed fructose, high fructose corn syrup or glucose at the 25 percent upper limit.
According to Eurekalert:
"They found that within two weeks, study participants consuming fructose or high fructose corn syrup, but not glucose, exhibited increased concentrations of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and apolipoprotein-B (a protein which can lead to plaques that cause vascular disease)."