Americans are consuming far too many calories from added sugars, with approximately 13% of adults’ total caloric intake coming from sources such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup, according to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report included data for added sugar consumption between 2005 and 2010 among U.S. adults.
Sugar consumption was found to be astonishingly higher than what should be considered ‘normal’. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend consuming no more than 5% to 15% of daily calorie intake from solid fats and added sugars, yet many Americans are consuming far more than this recommended limit.
In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) has already urged Americans to cut added sugar intake given the overwhelming evidence that too much sugar is associated with health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed the mechanism through which a diet high in fructose, such as from added sugar and high fructose corn syrup, may contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes.
The report revealed that, on average, men consume more sugar than women per day (335 calories vs 239). However, as a percentage of daily calorie intake the difference between genders was only marginal – men consumed an average of 12.7% of their calories from added sugars compared to 13.2% among women.
- Young men and women, aged 20-39 consumed the most calories from added sugars (14.1% and 14.5% respectively).
- Men aged 40-59 consumed 12.5% of their calories from added sugars
- Men aged 60+ consumed 10.7% of their calories from added sugars
- Among women aged 40 to 59, 12.9% of daily calorie consumption was from added sugars
- Among women aged 60+, 11.2% daily calorie consumption was from added sugars
The total calories consumed from added sugars decreased with age.
In addition, the researchers noted differences in total calories consumed from added sugars by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic blacks consumed more of their calories from added sugars than any other race or ethnicity, accounting for 14.5% of calorie intake among men and 15.2% for women. Among whites and Mexican Americans the percentage of added sugars consumed was less.
People in the lowest income category tended to consume more added sugar than those who were in the middle income and high income categories. For example, only 11.6% of daily calorie intake was from added sugars among women in the high income category compared to an overwhelming 15.7% for those in lower income households.
Most of the added sugars were found to come from foods rather than drinks – a surprise to many.
It’s important to note that added sugars do not include sugars from naturally occurring sources such as milk or fruit.
Written by Joseph Nordqvist