hand holding soda can pouring sugar

Sugar intake can have a bittersweet effect on your health and can lead to major health risks.

Americans appear to be getting the message from their dentists and doctors on the negative effects sugar can have on the body as a new study from Harvard University researchers shows Americans are drinking fewer sugary beverages than they were a decade ago.

How Many Sweetened Beverages Are Americans Drinking?

To complete this case study, researchers studied frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in 18,600 children between the ages of 2 and 19 and 27,652 adults age 20 and older. Researchers began by asking each participant their sugar drink consumption over the past 24 hours, and then analyzed their results over time from 2003 to 2014.

The found results showed that Americans are drinking fewer sugary beverages than they were when the study first began in 2003; however, consumption still exceeds the recommended limit by the U.S. government.

Americans Are Listening to Messages About Oral & Whole Body Health

The biggest declines in sugar beverage consumption were between the 2003-2004 survey and the 2013-2014 survey in both children and adults. The number of calories consumed from sugary drinks also declined, while water consumption rose.

“The overall decline in both beverage and SSB consumption is consistent with previous literature, suggesting a recent ‘turning point’ toward lower energy intake in the U.S. diet,” the authors wrote.

What contributions have made this change?

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in media coverage regarding obesity, and our abilities to have widespread discussions on health and dietary changes.

Today’s Americans are challenging food manufacturers to use better ingredients in our everyday products and there have been positive changes made to school feeding programs to teach children proper nutrition from a younger age.

Excessive Sugar & Serious Health Conditions

Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains and dairy. While our body is able to process these natural sugars effectively, consuming foods with added sugar such as sugar sweetened beverages is strongly linked to:

  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Dental cavities
  • Tooth erosion

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

We all need small amounts of sugar so our bodies are receiving a steady supply of energy. But how much sugar should you really be eating each day?

The World Health Organization’s most recent sugar intake guideline recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day.

Take control of your sugar intake

Tailor your daily eating habits to follow a healthy lifestyle by:

  • Using a nutrition website to look up nutrition content of the foods you eat
  • Don’t forget to also look up the content of drinks you consume
  • Stay away from processed foods
  • Read the nutrition facts before you buy an item at the grocery store