Average American Consumes 130 Pounds of 'Toxic' Sugar Each Year
Americans consume nearly 130 pounds of sugar per person, per year -- so much, it should be classified as a toxin, a new report says.
The amount of sugar in U.S. diets -- about a third of a pound per person, per day -- poses as big a risk to public health as alcohol, according to the report by three obesity researchers at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Their report appears in the journal Nature, and was featured on CBS' "60 Minutes."
High sugar intake is linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, along with hypertension and heart disease, the report's lead author, Dr. Robert Lustig, said.
And it's not just refined table sugar, the consumption of which has actually declined 40% since the 1970s, according to "60 Minutes." Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are making up the difference.
Independent research seems to back up those claims. A new study at the University of California, Davis found people who ingested high fructose corn syrup showed increased LDL cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease, "60 Minutes" reports.
"Ultimately this is a public health crisis. And when it's a public health crisis, you have to do big things and you have to do them across the board," Lustig told "60 Minutes" about why he believes sugar is "toxic."
"Tobacco and alcohol are perfect examples," Lustig continued. "We have made a conscious choice that we're not going to get rid of them, but we are going to limit their consumption. I think sugar belongs in this exact same wastebasket."
Lustig's recommendation: Men should limit themselves to 150 calories of added sugars a day, while women should limit themselves to 100 calories.
Lustig also wants more regulations and health warnings on sugary products. You can hear more from Lustig in this 90-minute lecture, viewed more than 2 million times, about the damage caused by "toxic" sugar:
- Toxic Sugar: Should We Regulate It Like Alcohol? (The Huffington Post)
- Public health: The toxic truth about sugar (Nature)
- Should US Regulate Sugar like Tobacco, Alcohol? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Could Junk Food, Sugar Addiction Be the Next Big Practice Area? (FindLaw's Strategist)