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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

America Keeps Getting Fatter, But We're Now Eating Less Sugar

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 9:05 AM

click to enlarge pile_candy.jpg

We hear it so often that the fact has become white noise: Close to one third of all Americans are obese, and the percentage keeps rising. Is the culprit high-fructose corn syrup? Happy Meals? Coca-Cola? Nintendo 3?

According to the L.A. Times, Americans may be cutting down on one of those culprits: sugar. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, as of 2008, we're now getting only 15 percent of our daily calories from added sugars (the sugar in cookies rather than the natural sugar in fruit), as opposed to 18 percent in 2000. That's a drop from 375 to 285 calories a day. The main thing Americans are cutting out? Sodas and sugared drinks.

Are public health messages about sugary foods working, like they have for tobacco? Ninety calories a day is a pretty significant drop, and while that figure is pulled from self-reported data -- people estimating what they ate in the past 24 hours, which doesn't always jibe with what they actually ate -- it's a burst of good news. Maybe if the rate keeps spiraling down, we won't end up like this.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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