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  • Brian Bender, PhD

Sugar Consumption in America: Do You Eat More than Average?

We’ve heard it before: _We eat too much sugar! _But just how high is sugar consumption in America?

Short answer? Very High.

“90% of Americans consume too much sugar, everyday.”

As recommended by the World Health Organization, no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from sugar. Ideally, no more than 5%.

Sugar Consumption Stats

  • The average sugar consumption in America is over twice the recommended amount

  • Roughly 90% of Americans eat more than the 10% threshold, everyday

  • The top 10% of sugar-consumers ingest a whopping 40% of their calories from sugar!

Sugar consumption in America is too high, and our vitamin and mineral intake is too low. How did we get here? What do we do?

Why is So Hard to Stop Eating Sugar?

We’re bred to crave sugar. For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancient ancestors gorged on fruit and their cravings became an evolutionary advantage.

But genetics changes slowly. Much slower than economics.

And now sugar is cheap, abundant, and it is processed into just about everything. Crammed into the sodas, fruit juices, and lattes we drink, we often don’t even realize just how much we consume.

One nonfat Caffe Mocha from Starbucks and you’ve already exceed the WHO’s 5% recommendation for the entire day! Not how you should spend your morning.

There is a healthy debate in the nutrition world today about sugar - its role in metabolic disease progression, weight management, cancer, food subsidies…

But one thing is usually not debated. We should all be consuming less of it.

It can be hard to cut back. Sugar is not only addictive, but it is present in many foods, often labeled as something other than ‘sugar.’

How much sugar are you eating everyday? Not sure?

Sugar Consumption in America | by Age and Gender

The CDC conducts the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey every 2 years.

During this survey, thousands of Americans from all walks of life are interviewed and clinically tested to provide a snapshot of the typical American diet.

The chart below combines the latest 5 years worth of NHANES survey data (‘09-‘14). It’s interactive, so refine the age or gender brackets if you’d like.

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