Healthy Food America is helping to energize a national movement to address the excessive amount of sugar marketed to Americans. Here’s why:
Added sugars can harm your health. People who consume 12–30 teaspoons per day, compared to those who consume less, increase their risk of dying from heart disease by nearly one third. And eating even more increases the risk nearly three-fold.[i] On average, Americans eat 23 teaspoons of added sugars a day, placing them at risk for heart problems.[ii]
Sugar occurs naturally in some foods, but manufacturers add tons of extra sugar—under dozens of different names—to our food supply every day. In fact, you’ll find added sugar in 68% of packaged foods and beverages sold in the US.[iii]
Americans consume about 76 pounds of added sugars per person every year.[iv]
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans calls for limiting added sugars consumption to less than 10% of calories per day, about 12 teaspoons.
The vast majority of our kids fail to meet this recommendation. Fully 88% of adolescents consume 10% or more of their calories from added sugars per day.[v] Children consume 50-70% more added sugars than is recommended.[vi]
Soda and other sugary drinks—energy, sports and fruit drinks, and sweetened teas—account for about half (46%) of the added sugars we consume.
Drinking just one to two 12-oz sodas per day can increase your risk of developing diabetes by 26% and the risk of developing hypertension by 12%.[vii]Worldwide, more than 184,000 deaths a year can be traced to sugary drinks, a Tufts University study found.[viii]
More than 1 in 3 US adults has pre-diabetes, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke:[ix]
- 40% of all children and over 50% of African American and Latino children are predicted to develop diabetes in their lifetimes.[x]
Half of US adults and two-thirds of youth consume at least one sugary drink per day. Among toddlers (age 13-24 months), 31% consume at least one sugary drink a day.[xi],[xii]
Adolescents and adults consume 241 and 283 calories per day respectively from these beverages.[xiii] Preschoolers on average consume nearly 100 calories a day from these drinks.[xiv]
[i] Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R., Hu, FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. April 2014;174(4):516-24.
[ii] Sugar and Sweeteners (added) Table. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System Website. Updated September 30, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2015.
[iii] Popkin BM, Hawkes C. Sweetening of the global diet, particularly beverages: patterns, trends, and policy responses. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2016 Feb;4(2):174-86.
[iv] Sugar and Sweeteners (added) Table. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System Website. Updated September 30, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2015.
[v] Zhang Z, Gillespie C, Welsh JA, Hu FB, Yang Q. Usual intake of added sugars and lipid profiles among the U.S. adolescents: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2010. J Adolesc Health. 2015 Mar;56(3):352-9.
[vi] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. See this chart: Average Intakes of Added Sugars as a Percent of Calories per Day by Age, Sex Group in Comparison to the Dietary Guidelines Maximum Limit of Less Than 10 Percent of Calories
[vii] Jayalath VH, de Souza RJ, Ha V, Mirrahimi A, Blanco-Mejia S, Di Buono M, Jenkins AL, Leiter LA, Wolever TM, Beyene J, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, Sievenpiper JL. Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and incident hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):914-21. Cheungpasitporn W, Thongprayoon C, Edmonds PJ, Srivali N, Ungprasert P, Kittanamongkolchai W, Erickson SB. Sugar and artificially sweetened soda consumption linked to hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2015;37(7):587-93.
[viii] Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadeh S, Lim S, Ezzati M, Mozaffarian D. Estimated Global, Regional, and National Disease Burdens Related to Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in 2010. Circulation. 2015 2015-06-29;132(8):639-66
[ix] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes Report Card 2014. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2015.
[x] Gregg EW, Zhuo X, Cheng YJ, Albright AL, Narayan KMV, Thompson TJ. Trends in lifetime risk and years of life lost due to diabetes in the USA, 1985–2011: a modelling study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2014;2(11):867-74.
[xi] Kids are eating junk food before they reach their second birthday, says USDA researcher, FoodNavigator-USA.com May 18, 2015
[xii] Kit BK, Fakhouri TH, Park S, Nielsen SJ, Ogden CL. Trends in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among youth and adults in the United States: 1999-2010. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):180-8.
[xiii] Kit BK, Fakhouri TH, Park S, Nielsen SJ, Ogden CL. Trends in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among youth and adults in the United States: 1999-2010. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):180-8.
[xiv] Ford CN, Ng SW, Popkin BM. Ten-year beverage intake trends among US preschool children: rapid declines between 2003 and 2010 but stagnancy in recent years. Pediatr Obes. 2016 Feb;11(1):47-53.