The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said that Americans should be limiting added sugars to only 10 percent of their daily calorie intake.
Added sugars are a bigger concern to a healthy diet than natural sugars or sodium, James DiNicolantonio, from the preventive cardiology department at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., told WebMD.
"Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular [heart and blood vessel] risk," DiNicolantonio said.
Added sugars are everywhere, so in order to avoid consuming too much you need to pay careful attention. Besides obviously sweet foods, added sugars are found in foods such as ketchup, mustard and bread.
This artificial ingredient hides in the nutrition facts behind several names including high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, honey and sucrose. These added sugars work as a preservative in many store-bought foods, which is why they are found in foods not usually regarded as "sweet."
Added sugars in beverages are even worse to consume than added sugars in foods (such as cookies) because of the different ways they sit in the stomach, reported WebMD.
When you eat a cookie, the food packed with added sugar sticks to the insides of your ribs, making you feel "full." When you drink a bottle of soda, on the other hand, the sugars won't stick to the ribs. This will cause you to eat more at your next meal.
"Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are unlike most things in the diet in that they provide nothing of value, but are major drivers of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems," Michael Jacobson, the director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a statement issued after the last meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. "It's encouraging to see the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee use such strong language recommending reduced consumption of those beverages."
Before the new guidelines, Americans were recommended to consume added sugars as no more than 16 percent of their daily diet. The committee is now suggesting to cut that number down to 10 percent.
The recommendation will be part of a scientific report published early this year.