How much sugar do you eat every day? If you're the average American, 385 of your daily calories come from sugars -- about 23 teaspoons' worth and nearly 20 percent of the daily 2,000 calorie diet.
That's already more than we're supposed to eat. The American Heart Association recommends no more than six and nine teaspoons (or 100 and 150 calories) for women and men, respectively -- about 8 percent. The World Health Organization is a bit more generous, recommending that no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake come from sugar.
Or at least, it used to. Today, WHO proposed changing its guidelines and halving the recommended amount of sugar to just 5 percent. It's not going to be easy for Americans to abide by this. According to a recent study, 71 percent of adults get more than 10 percent of their daily calories from sugar, with soda being the biggest culprit, accounting for 37 percent of the sugar we eat. Just one can of soda will put you over WHO's new 5 percent recommendation. Don't drink soda? You're still not in the clear: many of our sugars are hidden in processed foods. As WHO points out, just one tablespoon of ketchup has a teaspoon of sugar.
Even WHO's director for nutrition seemed less than hopeful at the possibility that our sugar-mad society will be able to get by on just a few teaspoons of the stuff per day, saying: "We should aim for 5 percent if we can ... but 10 percent is more realistic."
WHO is currently accepting comments from the public on its guidelines draft.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.