My Letter to Liz Applegate

by HEAB on September 7, 2009

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On August 25, the Wall Street Journal published  Sweet Surrender, Sugar Curbs Urged, an article on the American Heart Association’s new recommendations for sugar intake.  According to the article, women are encouraged to limit their sugar intake to 100 calories, or about six teaspoons, and for men, the recommendation is 150 calories, or nine teaspoons.  For comparison’s sake, one 12 ounce can of soda contains 130 calories, or 8 tsp of sugar.

In a Letter to the Editor, Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of California, Davis wrote the following:

The American Heart Association’s strict limit on sugar as a means to better health through weight management may sound straightforward to some, but to those of us who have been working with dieters on the front lines for decades, it is unrealistic.

Asking Americans to limit their sugar intake to 100 calories for women and 150 for men means asking the average person to cut added sugar consumption by more than 70%. The AHA limits mean most of us are prohibited from having a single can of soda on a hot summer day, a slice of cake at a party, and even a third of a cup of dried cranberries as a snack.

“Just say no” won’t get us a slimmer and healthier America. Instead, I suggest the AHA put its muscle behind promoting physical activity.

Letter from HEAB:

Dear Ms. Applegate.

I was shocked when I read your Letter to the Editor last week suggesting that we as Americans are not capable of limiting our sugar intake. The promotion of physical exercise is extremely important, but I believe the first step in ending the obesity epidemic is to promote a healthy diet full of whole foods naturally low in sugar. Why not put down that can of Coke and take a walk around the block instead of consuming unnecessary sugar and then exercising to make up for it? Yes, an extra 30 minutes of running might help someone stay trim, but it in no way negates the fact that they just filled their body with high fructose corn syrup and other unrecognizable chemicals.

Refined sugar is not healthy.  It’s not, and why not do our best to reduce its consumption?  Unlike you, I am in no way certified to hand out nutritional advice. Nor, have I ever worked professionally with dieters. However, I know that many Americans are scared of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and I think we should do all we can to prevent this from happening.  Americans sure went crazy removing the fat from everything not too long ago.  Why don’t you think they could do the same with sugar?

Sincerely,

Heather