Make the holidays an even sweeter season by capping sugar intake

Just a reminder to the health conscious: Make moderation your motto during the holiday eating season. And, if you’re heeding the Food and Drug Administration, it’s worth considering capping the amount of sugar you take in as part of your daily diet in the days ahead. That means, just for starters, no sugary soft drinks.

The agency for the first time, as the New York Times has reported, set a goal “for Americans to limit added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories … For someone older than 3, that means eating no more than 12.5 teaspoons, or 50 grams, of it a day. That’s about the same amount of sugar found in a can of Coke, but for most people, giving up sugary soft drinks will not be enough to meet the recommendations. Caloric sweeteners like sugar, honey and high-fructose corn syrup are found in obvious places like sodas, cookies and candy — but they are also lurking in foods with health appeal, like low-fat yogurt, granola and wholegrain breads, as well as in ketchup, pasta sauce, canned fruit and prepared soups, salad dressings and marinades.”

FDA officials, to the furor of the sugar industry, previously had called for more detailed labeling on packaged foods, disclosing the amounts of added sugars they contain as a percentage of the daily caloric intake.

If you haven’t had your head stuck in a honey pot and missed the medical research that increasingly shows the health harms from Americans’ excess consumption of sugar, and especially the damage that the giant national sweet tooth inflicts on youngsters, here’s just one of many studies, this one on sugar’s role in increasing cardiovascular risk.

Americans craving for and consumption of sugary calories, of course, also has been implicated in the nation’s obesity nightmare. Obesity rates, despite extensive campaigning otherwise, are creeping up still, and the problems are worsening for women.

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