The Sugar Facts

The Sugar Epidemic – by the numbers

How much sugar are we eating?
  • Before food processing, when we got sugar mainly from fruits and vegetables, we consumed about 30 grams per day. By 1977, we consumed more than 70 grams per day, and by 1994, it was 110 grams.
  • Today, Americans consume 15.5 per cent of calories from added sugars; in Canada, the figure is 10.7 per cent.
  • One in every 5 calories that Canadians consume comes from sugar.
  • Canadians consume 110 grams of sugar a day or 26 teaspoons.
  • Canadians eat, on average, 88 lb. of sugar per year.
  • The average nine-year-old boy consumes 123 lb. of sugar per year and male teens consume 138 lb.
  • The World Health Organization recently reduced its recommendation from 10% of calories from sugars to 5% or 100 calories from added sugars per day.
  • The American Heart Association now recommends people cut back on added sugar. They suggest men should have no more than 9 teaspoons a day and women no more than 6.
  • Health Canada does not set a recommended limit on sugar consumption per day.
Where are we getting all this sugar?
  • A Canadian teen’s primary source of sugar is soft drinks.
  • A single can of soda pop like Coke contains 35 grams of sugar and 140 calories.
  • Of the 600,000 food items sold in U.S. grocery stores, 80% have added sugar.
  • Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (called glucose-fructose in Canada) are added to nearly everything we consume including pasta sauce, bread, salad dressing, peanut butter and yogurt.
  • “Low fat” products, especially those made for kids, are often the biggest sources of sugar.
  • The average can of sugar-sweetened soda or fruit punch provides about 150 calories, almost all of them from sugar – usually high-fructose corn syrup. That’s equal to 10 teaspoons of table sugar.
  • If you were to drink just one can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain 10-15 pounds in a year.
  • More than one-third of the sugars that Canadians consume (almost half for teenage boys) is added to products by food companies.
How much sugar is in our food and drinks?
  • A 591-millilitre serving of Coca-Cola has 70 grams of sugar, or nearly 18 teaspoons.
  • A 450-millilitre serving of Minute Maid orange juice has 45 grams of sugar, or nearly 12 teaspoons.
  • A half-cup of Ragu Old World Style Original pasta sauce has eight grams, or two teaspoons.
  • A 100-gram serving of Activia blueberry yogurt has 11 grams, or nearly three teaspoons, of sugar.
  • A lemon poppy seed Clif Bar has 21 grams of sugar or 5 teaspoons.
  • A 20 ounce gatorade has 9 teaspoons of sugar.
  • A chocolate-glazed cake doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts has 14 grams of sugar or 3 teaspoons.
  • A 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino contains 44 grams of sugar or 10 teaspoons.
  • One tablespoon of ketchup can contain as much as one teaspoon of sugar.

What is all this sugar doing to our health?

  • There are more than 70 health disorders that are connected to sugar consumption including diabetes, poor brain development in children, lack of concentration, allergies, asthma, ADHD, hypoglycemia, mood swings, immune and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Emerging science is connecting high consumption of sugar in North American diets with the rapid spread of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Between 1985 and 2011, the obesity rate among Canadian adults more than tripled.
  • 61% of Canadians are overweight or obese.
  • It’s predicted that by 2019, overweight and obese adults will outnumber those of normal weight in half of our provinces.
  • Childhood obesity has risen significantly in the past few decades. Obesity is now seen in babies as young as six months old.
  • There are 18 chronic diseases linked to obesity (including diabetes, asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, heart disease).
  • Type II Diabetes as increased 70% over the past 10 years.
  • There are currently over 100 Million cases of Type II Diabetes in North America.
  • Diabetics have 6 times the risk of heart disease and 60% are overweight.
  • 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer’s.
  • In 5 years, 50% more Canadians will have Alzheimer’s.
  • Alzheimer’s being linked with insulin resistance in brain and could be called Type 3 Diabetes.
Heart Disease
  • Every 7 minutes in Canada someone dies from Heart Disease or Stroke.
  • Heart Disease & Stroke account for 29% of deaths each year.
  • 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for Heart Disease or Stroke (smoking, alcohol, inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes).
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, responsible for 30% of deaths.
  • An estimated 191,300 new cases of cancer and 76,600 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2014.
  • On average, 524 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every day.
  • On average, 210 Canadians will die from cancer every day.
  • Research has found cancer’s preferred fuel is glucose – sugar feeds cancer.
  • Cancer has an appetite for glucose that is three times that than of other cells.
Metabolic Syndrome
  • Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of risk factors that increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.Risk factors for metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity (high waist circumference), elevated triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), high fasting blood glucose, and high blood pressure.
  • Metabolic syndrome affects 20 per cent of Canadians.
  • 1 in 5 Canadian adults aged 18 to 79 have metabolic syndrome.
  • The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increases significantly with age – only 1 in 10 Canadians aged 18 to 39 years were found to have metabolic syndrome compared to 4 in 10 Canadians aged 60 to 79 years.

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