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How Much Added Sugar Does Your Family Consume?

Yesterday, I was asked by a friend, “Do your children eat sugar?” when she offered them some homemade cookies. Of course, we eat sugar! I love sugar!

Of course, we bake at home with only organic sugar, usually Sucanat.

The problem with sugar consumption is not usually home cooking, but “added” sugars consumers are not even aware exist in the processed food and drinks they consume.

EcoWatch explains:

coalition of public health organizations is calling on the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require that food labels display information on added sugar.

“While current regulations stipulate what foods can be labeled ‘No Sugar Added’ or use a similar phrase, there is currently no requirement that added sugars be shown separately on the ingredients list,” the group wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “We recommend that FDA require that added sugars be listed on the ingredients section of food labels so that consumers can make healthier choices when they shop.”

According to the American Heart Association, which signed the letter to Hamburg, Americans’ average intake of added sugars is around 22.2 teaspoons per day, or 355 calories. The AHA’s daily-recommended limit for added sugar is 100 calories for women, and 150 for men.

Sugar has been identified as an evil substance, but it is one I do not fear, unless its “corn sugar“.  We do not eat a lot of it, and we don’t buy products that are processed and loaded with sugar.  That is our personal choice.

Unfortunately for most consumers, they are either not aware, do not care, do not understand, or assume the FDA has their back when it comes to health.

Overconsumption of sugar is related to many health problems. The most obvious being obesity, refined sugar consumption has increased dramatically with modern times.  According to Dr. Mercola:

  • In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
  • In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!

This is especially disturbing when you consider products marketed to children. EcoWatch continues:

Late last year, EWG reviewed the sugar content for more than 80 popular cereals market toward children and found most loaded with the ingredient. In fact, a one-cup serving of the Kellogg’s Honey Smacks brand packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of the 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

You can’t assume that just because something is not a dessert item that it contains less sugar than one.  Proper labeling would help consumers make responsible personal dietary choices.

Image:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Uwe Hermann


  1. I don’t so much have a problem with sugar as a health concern as I do with it as something that’s produced by people who are being taken advantage of, working in poor conditions, not making a living wage, etc. Also, the fact that it’s probably been shipped a great distance to get to me and all the gas that takes makes me not want to buy it. I prefer to use local honey whenever I need a sweetener, for baking, in tea or oatmeal or whatever. However, I want to start making my own kombucha soon, and I’m told I cannot use honey for that, so I did buy me some organic cane sugar today – we’ll see how that goes!

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      Good points! Transportation and taking advantage of those of lower socio economic-status are both very valid concerns

  2. While I know what she meant, the phrasing of the question is funny – if you didn’t eat sugar at all you wouldn’t even eat fruits or vegetables!

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