Recent Blog Articles
Cutting and self-harm: Why it happens and what to do
Discrimination at work is linked to high blood pressure
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Nationwide sugar reductions projected to save health and lives
- By Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
How big a health problem is sugar in processed foods and drinks? It’s so big that reducing sugar levels in those products might prevent millions of health problems and even deaths, according to a team of scientists from Harvard, Tufts, and New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Their work was published Aug. 27, 2021, in Circulation. The researchers came up with a model of how a sugar reduction policy proposed by the U.S. National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative would affect our health and economy. The proposed policy would cut 20% of sugar from packaged foods and 40% from sweetened beverages. The scientists determined that during an average adult population’s lifetime, such reductions could prevent about 2.5 million heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac arrests; prevent 750,000 diabetes cases and almost 490,000 cardiovascular deaths; and save billions in health care costs. If the proposed policy is implemented, companies would voluntarily commit to sugar reductions in foods and drinks. But you don’t have to wait until they do. Take charge of your health by reading nutrition labels and limiting added sugars to no more than 10% of your total daily calories (50 grams in a 2,000-calorie diet), as recommended by the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.Image: © piotr_malczyk/Getty Images
About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
Reducing Sugar in Your Diet
Reducing consumption of added sugar is a good place to start in improving the overall nutritional punch of your diet. This Harvard Medical School Guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of the different formsof sugar, what foods contain significant amounts of added sugar, how sugaris metabolized by the body, and the health risks it poses when consumed to excess. We also offer practical suggestions from Harvard experts on how to reduce your intake.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!