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Michael Omidi, MD Looks at Added Sugars and Obesity

Michael Omidi, MD discusses a new petition to limit the amount of added sugars in beverages. Do added sugars deserve all of the blame that they receive for obesity?

The consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest recently submitted a petition to the FDA asking them to not only identify a safe level for added sugars, but also to institute that level across all sugary beverages.

The petition submitted to the Food and Drug Administration was signed by 41 physicians and nutritional scientists as well as the heads of public health departments from 10 major cities.

It is important to note that added sugars are a contributing factor to the expanding obesity epidemic, and that sugary beverages are part of the added sugar problem. For example, on average in the United States, people consume 300 to 400 calories in added sugars a day, which is roughly between 18 and 23 teaspoons. This isn’t necessarily due to over-consumption of sugary beverages, as a single 20-oz soda can contain about 16 teaspoons of sugar from high-fructose corn syrup. Comparatively, the American Heart Association suggests that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day and that adult men consume no more than 9 teaspoons.

While added sugars are contributing to the obesity epidemic, it is exceptionally important that we refrain from making a scapegoat out of any one issue and look at the entire diet and lifestyle necessary to keep people healthy. Certainly a reduction in added sugars throughout beverages, baked goods, and other food items will help to ease the burden faced by individuals trying to stay health, but a focus on an overall balanced diet and exercise are still the bedrock for staying in shape and preventing disease.

By Michael Omidi, MD

added sugars and obesity


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