Not So Sweet – The Average American Consumes 150-170 Pounds Of Sugar Each Year
How much sugar do you consume in one year?
Tipping the sugar scales
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars in one year!
You may be thinking, “I do not consume that much.” Well, it is also said that:
- For every American who eats only 5 pounds of sugar each year, there is one who eats about 295 pounds per year. That is A LOT of sugar – especially when you compare it to how much we used to consume in the past.
- To put things into perspective, during the early-1800s, the average intake of sugar was only about 4-6 pounds per person per year… not 150, 170, or 295 pounds! With each passing decade, there has been a steady increase in sugar consumption among the United States’ population.
Are you eating 30-34 five-pound bags of sugar each year?
Are you having a difficult time understanding how much sugar 150 to 170 pounds is? Here is a visual:
- Imagine 30 to 34 five-pound bags of sugar lined up next to each other on a counter.
Now imagine one person, perhaps yourself, eating ALL of that sugar.
Are you eating 1.25-4.5 pounds of sugar each day?
To break it down even more, eating 150-170 pounds of sugar in one year is also equivalent to consuming 1/4 to 1/2 pounds of sugar each day. That is 30-60 teaspoons of sugar in a 24 hour period. Not convinced that one person can easily consume this amount of sugar? Think again… it is not that difficult to achieve.
Here are some more numbers:
Sugar, soda and math
There are 120 teaspoons in one pound of sugar. This means 1/4 pound of sugar is equivalent to 30 teaspoons and 1/2 pound of sugar is equivalent to 60 teaspoons.
An average 12-ounce can of soda contains about 8 teaspoons of simple sugar. It only takes four 12-ounce cans of sodas to equal 1/4 pound of sugar! For some people, drinking this amount of soda in one day is not a difficult task to accomplish. For many, it is a daily habit.
This is calculating only the amount of sugar found in soda. Just think about the other sources of sugar in our diets. Americans consume refined sugars in numerous forms – there are the obvious sugary culprits such as:
- ice cream
However, sugar is hidden in so much of what we consume every day. Sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup can be found in:
- barbecue sauces
- frozen dinners
- hot dogs
- peanut butter
- salad dressing
…and several other food products. Sugar surrounds us.
It is not only a drug, it is a poison too
Some classify refined sugar as a drug and poison because it is depleted of its life forces, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Too much sugar is harmful to the body and promotes inflammation and disease.
We have all heard about the dangers of consuming too much sugar in our diets – it can lead to organ malfunction and hormone disruption.
When these systems are disturbed and unbalanced, several other pathological conditions manifest such as:
- behavioral problems
- degenerative/organ disease
- immune disruption
- mental illness
- tooth decay
How does eating sugar relate to being ill?
If you are sick several times throughout the year, you may want to look at your sugar consumption because excess sugar consumption depresses your body’s immunity.
- Studies have shown that consuming 75 to 100 grams of simple sugars (about 20 teaspoons of sugar – the amount found in two-and-a-half average 12 ounce cans of soda) can suppress the body’s immune responses considerably.
- These sugars are known to create a 40 to 50% percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria and germs within the body.
- The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.
- By consuming 150 to 170 pounds of simple sugars each year, a person may have up to 80,000 hours of immune suppression!
With the average American consuming 150-170 pounds of sugar annually, I am not surprised to read that worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and that more than 35 percent of adults across the United States are categorized as obese.
According to a report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, if America’s obesity trend continues at its current pace, all 50 states could have obesity rates above 44 percent by 2030. There are obviously other factors that play a role in these statistics, but I am pretty sure our over consumption of sugar has a lot to do with it.
I don’t know about you, but to me, this all makes sugar sound “not so sweet” after all…
What are your thoughts?
- Do you fit into this category of “average American”? Do you think you eat this much sugar?
- Does it shock you that the average American consumes 150-170 pounds of sugar each year? …Or are you not surprised? Why or why not?
- Do you have any thoughts about this “not so sweet” predicament?
- What do you think of my article, “Not So Sweet – The Average American Consumes 150-170 Pounds Of Sugar Each Year?”
Please add your comments below – I would love to hear and learn from your opinions!
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- Johnson, Rachel, Appel, Lawrence, Brands, Michael. “Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.” 2009;120:1011-1020, published online before print August 24 2009, doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627.
- Price, W— Nutrition and Physical Degeneration 1997
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- USDA. “Profiling Food Consumption in America.” United States Department of Agriculture. Sowers, Robert. 2010. http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf.
- “Role of Sugars in Human Neutrophilic Phagocytosis.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1973, 26pp. 1, 180-4).
When she is not slaying fat and building muscle, Jennifer can be found trekking barefoot, traveling, cooking and refining her photography skills. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.