In the U.S., the jump in sweet calories was even greater: 83 calories per day from 1977 to 1996. Most of those extra sweet calories (80 percent) came from sugary soft drinks and fruit drinks.
According to the researchers, \"In a world where obesity is increasingly the key nutrition-related problem, elimination of the extra calories that come from the food industry�s adding these caloric sweeteners to our diet is one critical dimension that needs to be added.\"
The team studied dietary data from 103 countries in 1962 and 127 in 2000. They also analyzed data from three national U.S. surveys conducted from 1977 to1978, 1989 to 1991 and 1994 to 1998. Worldwide, the percentage of total calories that came from sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other caloric sweeteners in 2000 was 32 percent higher than in 1962.
Most of this worldwide change was due to population shift to urban areas. The researchers note that people living in cities have greater access to processed foods that are high in sugar. In the U.S., the rise in caloric sweetener consumption means that as of 1996, 30 percent of all carbohydrate calories came from sugar and other sweeteners. Of the 83 calorie per day increase, 54 calories came from soft drinks and 13 calories came from sugared fruit drinks.
The results show that sugary calories are replacing calories from higher-fiber foods. Food and drinks with added sugar or other caloric sweeteners provide energy but few other nutrients, according to the researchers. Many experts, they note, believe that the surge in sugary drinks has contributed to the drop in milk consumption in the U.S.
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