Evidence cited in the Dietary Guidelines shows that more than half the added sugars in the American diet come from a handful of foods: sugar-sweetened soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks (37.5 percent); fruit drinks (10.5 percent); candy (6.1 percent); and sugars and honey (3.5 percent). Unlike other food components that contribute excess calories, these products contribute to intake of calories but provide no essential nutrients. Thus the Dietary Guidelines strongly recommend reducing consumption of calories from added sugars.
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE 2010 GUIDELINES
Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
• Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors.
• Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages.
• Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
• Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life—childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age.
Foods and Food Components to Reduce
• Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg), and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children and the majority of adults.
• Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
• Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.
• Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.
• Reduce intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
• Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined-grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.