Health experts searching for ways to cut sugar intake

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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An ad from the Hawaii Department of Health aims to reduce sugar consumption.

Most know soda, juice drinks, even sports or energy drinks have more sugar than we realize - yet we don't seem to be concerned enough to stop drinking them.

"I like to motivate people on feeling good. You're going to feel better if you cut down on added sugars in your diet," said dietitian Patricia Bannan.

Bannan prefers the common sense approach but knows that doesn't always work.

The American Heart Association's recommendation for daily added sugars is about 100 calories for a woman or 25 grams; 150 calories for a man or 36 grams.

But the average American takes in about 80 grams of added sugar daily, the equivalent of 20 teaspoons!

Posting nutrition facts and warning labels in a cafeteria were used as part of a recent Harvard study.

A nutrition label is one thing, but there is actually something else that might get us to stop.

In a recent public service spot by Hawaii Department of Health, a coffee shop served beverages with extra fat, rotting teeth, a diseased heart and insulin needles for diabetes.

"There is something to be said that pictures say 1,000 words," said Bannan.

In the study using a graphic warning of consequences resulted in diners cutting sugar intake by 15 percent.

Since warning labels and nutrition facts didn't change behavior- some don't think the graphic ads will either.

"No, I don't think it's going to change anything. People in Europe where they have holes in their throats and different things, people continue to smoke," said Anthony Dominic of Los Angeles.

"I don't think people who do are going to stop and think 'Sugar - no, not going to do it,'" said Traci Coulter of Los Angeles.

Too much sugar increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay - serious effects on the body. So health experts are hoping PSAs like these might scare us to put the lid on that sugar bowl.