Every day, adults in America consume an average of 17 teaspoons of sugar that are added to food and drink, according to University of California San Francisco health scientists who focus their work on the health effects of sugar. Although the body needs sugar for energy, health experts say the amount of added sugar that most people eat is much more than necessary. The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Current dietary guidelines for Americans say that daily intake of added sugars should represent no more than 1
0 percent of a person's daily calories. However, for most adults today, 15 percent of their daily calories come from added sugars, according to the National Institutes of Health. Sugars added – Defined as sweeteners added to foods or drinks when produced or when prepared for eating or drinking at home – include white or brown sugar, honey, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, lactose, sucrose and more ▼. UCSF researchers have found at least 61 different sugar names on food labels. The most important nutritional sources of added sugars according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are soft drinks, cakes, cookies, candy and ice cream. Health experts note that added sugars are often present in foods that are not considered sweetened: soups, breads, dried meats and ketchup. The bottom line for health is that too much sugar can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.