How Much Sugar Do Americans Consume Each Year? Each Day?

by in Kitchen Sink December 23, 2008

By Dr. Scott Olsen, author of “Sugarettes”

Hope this helps silence the holiday sweet tooth…

The statistics behind our sugar consumption are hard to believe. As little as 100 years ago, it is estimated that Americans ate around one pound of sugar a year. Today, it is estimated that we (children and adults) consume around 1/4 to 1/2 pound of sugar each and every day for a total of around 90 to 180 pounds of sugar going into our bodies every year.

Whenever I quote those statistics, people are astonished and don’t believe that they are eating that much sugar. Let’s do some math and see if your consumption adds up to 1/4 pound a day.

There are 120 teaspoons in every pound of sugar, which means 1/2 pound is 60 teaspoons and 1/4 pound is 30 teaspoons. Foods we commonly put in our mouths contain high amounts of sugar, for example, a 12 oz soda contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. It takes only four 12 oz sodas to make 1/4 pound (and, remember, those are small sodas (12 oz) and not the large size served in most restaurants).

When other sugars found in the diet are added to the soda, such as those found in donuts (8-10 teaspoons), jams (3 teaspoons per tablespoon), cookies (2-4 teaspoons per cookie), candy or other snacks, and the so-called “hidden sugars” found in salad dressing, bread, peanut butter and other foods are added, it is easy to see large amounts of sugar are being consumed daily.

For more on how much sugar you are eating, see this post over at

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