The American Heart Association (AHA) issued a Scientific Statement that provides the organization’s first-ever set of recommendations on specific levels and limits for the consumption of sugars and syrups that have been added to foods during processing, preparation, or at the table. Excessive intake of added sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars, is associated with increases in risk factors for such conditions as heart disease and stroke.

The AHA identifies soft drinks and other sweetened beverages as the primary sources of added sugars in the American diet. A 12-oz can of regular soda contains approximately 130 calories and eight teaspoons of sugar.

According to the AHA statement (Circulation. 2009;120:1011-1020), most women should consume no more than 100 calories (approximately 25 g, or about six teaspoons’ worth) of added sugars per day. Most men should consume no more than 150 calories (about 37.5 g, or about nine teaspoons’ worth) per day.

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These limits are drastically lower than the average intake of 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories) reported for all Americans by the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.