Sugar Levels in Drinks Need to Be Regulated, Group Says

Health & Lifestyle

USA Today reports that The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration asking that the organization find a level for added sugar in beverages that is safe. Many soft drinks and even juices have high levels of sugar per serving.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says Americans are consuming sugar at a dangerously high level, mostly due to the added sugars in many beverages, USA Today reports. According to the group, the added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks and juices need to be regulated. The group sent a petition to the Food and Drug Administration urging the organization to find a safe level for beverages and to regulate the amounts of sugar that can be added. The petition included the signatures of more than 40 nutrition scientists as well as the public health departments of major cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston.

 Too Much Sugar in Drinks photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Too Much Sugar in Drinks photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The executive director for The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson, says a diet that includes a high amount of sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup can lead to a number of health issues. Those include higher risks of type 2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. The United States already faces a problem with weight as nearly 66 percent of adults and 33 percent of children are considered either obese or overweight.

The American Heart Association says men should have no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar a day. Women should have less, at no more than six teaspoons a day. One 20-ounce soda has, on average, 16 teaspoons of sugar. Jacobson says Americans consume about 18 to 23 teaspoons of added sugar every day on average. The FDA says that high-fructose corn syrup is considered safe, but Jacobson said these sugar levels are nowhere near safe. He believes the FDA should have to set safe sugar levels, which he believes would be about two and a half teaspoons per serving.

One cardiologist says it is not fair to put the pressure on beverage makers and sugar levels specifically. He says there is an overwhelming problem with obesity in the United States and believes people would find a way to make up the caloric difference if sugar was regulated in drinks. The interim president for the Corn Refiners Association says any food or beverage fits into a healthy diet as long as it is consumed in moderation and the person has a healthy exercise regimen.

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