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Comment & Response
January 2015

Why Are We Consuming So Much Sugar Despite Knowing Too Much Can Harm Us?—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(1):146. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6994

In Reply We appreciate the suggestion by Avena and colleagues that addiction-like behaviors and related brain changes may perpetuate overeating highly palatable foods that tend to contain high amounts of added sugars. This interesting hypothesis needs to be tested in well-designed interventions and mechanistic studies. Although the high consumption of added sugars in the US population (on average, approximately 22 teaspoons per day) is possibly related to the “addictive” property of the palatable foods and the reward system in the brain, the abundance of added sugars in the current food environment and influential advertising by the food industry may also play an important role.1

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