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Added Sugars Are Taking a Toll on Health The Sugar Association is trying to convince Americans that consuming large quantities of sugar-sweetened soft drinks and snacks does not harm ones nutritional status body weight or long-term health But the research the association cites to support its contentions shows how statistics can often be misleading if they present only part of the story Here is what you should know about the appalling increase in sugar consumption by Americans -- especially children -- and the effects this increase is having on health Just How Sweet It Is Per capita consumption of sugars rose a whopping 28 percent in just 15 years to 53 teaspoons a day by 1997 Manufacturers are quick to point out that not all that sugar is actually eaten some is wasted but the relative increase is real And it does not take a rocket scientist to recognize the sources of that rise Just walk through any supermarket or survey the menu in a fast-food establishment and youll find sugar -- large quantities of added sugar -- at every turn from super- sized soft drinks to breakfast cereals Tempting sweets dominate the ends of aisles and surround the checkout counters of nearly every American market The rush to low-fat worsened the problem when food producers cut the fat they often added sugars to improve the flavor If you compare the nutrition label on a fat-free cake with its full-fat version youre likely to find only a small caloric difference with sweeteners making up for many of the lost fat calories The surge in artificial sweeteners seems only to have fostered the American sweet tooth Even with the widespread availability of diet soft drinks 80 percent of the carbonated sodas Americans consume are sweetened with real caloric sugar Sugars Up Nutrients Down Last spring the Sugar Association ballyhooed the results of two studies it
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