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Dynamic Chiropractic – May 19, 2003, Vol. 21, Issue 11
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U. S. Food Consumption and Obesity, Part III: Sugar

By G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN

Why are Americans so fat? The answer is complex ... and simple. The following statistics explain what we as a society are doing to ourselves; unfortunately, they do not explain why. (All data are direct or derived from a U.S. Department of Agriculture statistical bulletin,1 except where indicated.) These numbers are estimated from disappearance data, which are calculated as follows: production plus beginning plus total import, minus farm use, industrial use, exports and ending stock. Disappearance data does not include spoilage, spillage and waste, so the actual amounts consumed are less.

This month, we will look at the sugar statistics. In 1997, the average American consumed 53 teaspoons of added sugars daily! (Please see Tables 1-7.)

(1 tsp = 4 gms of added sugar = 16 calories.) * Includes table sugar; high-fructose corn syrup; fructose; glucose; and dextrose

(Note: The United States National Soft Drink Association Vice President of Scientific and Technical Affairs has stated, "A thorough review of scientific literature on the subject of obesity shows there is no association between sugar consumption and obesity."2)

Calorie
level
Sugar*
recommendations
(not to exceed)
1,600
6 teaspoons
2,000
10 teaspoons
2,200
12 teaspoons
2,800
18 teaspoons
Table 1: The USDA Food Pyramid Guide.

Agency
Parent organization
Recommendations
World Health Organization / United Nations
United Nations
No more than 10% of calories from added sugars
Food and Agriculture Association
United Nations
No more than 10% of calories from added sugars
Institute of Medicire
U.S. National Academy of Science
No more than 25% of calories from added sugars
Table 2: Sugar recommendations.2

Year
Sweeteners
1909
87.5
1970
122.3
1980
123.0
1990
137.0
1997
154.0
Table 3: Caloric sweeteners - pounds consumed per person per year.

Year
Diet
Regular
Total
1970
2.1
22.2
24.3
1980
5.1
29.9
35.1
1990
10.7
35.6
46.3
1997
11.6
41.4
53.0
Table 4: Soda - Gallons consumed per person per year.

Year
High-fructose corn syrup
1970
0.5
1980
19
1990
49.6
1997
52.4
Table 5: High-fructose corn syrup - pounds consumed per person per year.

Year
Pure juice
Fruit drink, "ades," teas
1970
5.0
N/A
1980
7.4
N/A
1990
7.9
6.4
1997
9.2
9.1
Table 6: Fruit juice, fruit drinks, "ades," and flavored teas - gallons consumed per person per year.

Year
Candy
1970
19.9
1980
16.1
1990
20.3
1997
24.8
Table 7: Candy - pounds consumed per person per year.

References

  1. Putnam JJ, Allshouse JE. Food Consumption, Prices, and Expenditures 1970-97. Food and Rural Economics Division, Economics Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture 1990; statistical bulletin no. 965.
  2. Roth E. Experts urge limits on sugar intake. Orange County Register, March 3, 2003.

G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN
Brea, California



Click here for more information about G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN.

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