Sugar consumption


In America, people consumed 150lbs sugar per year per capita, 79lbs HFCS(high fructose corn syrup) per year. That is 22 teaspoon sugar per day.
The average American consumes more than 150 pounds of sugar and sweeteners each year. – USDA



Based on the data from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Census Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the data about sugar consumption per capita in America is not exactly true, or in other words, the outdated evidence.

Let’s first see what United States Census Bureau has said about the sugar consumption.

According to Statistical Abstracts of the United States, per capita per year consumption of caloric sweeteners in America almost reached 150 lbs in 2000. The exact amount was 148.9 lbs. However, since then, the consumption has declined for over decade. And according to its latest update, in 2009, per capita consumption of caloric sweeteners was 130.7 lbs.

The film was released in March, 2012. So let’s then check USDA for the consumption in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

According to Table 50 of Sugar and Sweeteners Yearbook Tables,  the estimated U.S. per capita caloric sweeteners in 2010 was about 131.5 lbs, which showed a little increase. But the downtrend of consumption continued in 2011 and 2012, with 129.4 lbs and 129.3 lbs respectively.

And in 2013, Americans consumed 128.3 lbs caloric sweeteners per capita per year.

Moreover, based on the same table, the consumption of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) per capita per year in America also doesn’t reach 79 lbs. It peaked in 1999 with 63.8 lbs and dropped all the way after that, to 49.7 lbs in 2009, 46.7 lbs in 2011 and 43.7 lbs in 2013.

Therefore, we can come into conclusion that the interviewee quoted the outdated evidence of both sugar consumption and HFCS consumption in the film.


Besides, there is also another thing noteworthy. All we checked above are the consumption of caloric sweeteners of Americans. However, “actual human intake of caloric sweeteners is lower because of uneaten food, spoilage, and other losses”. (USDA)

Some readers may notify that throughout the the page, I said “caloric sweeteners” instead of sugar. So are they different? What is the relationship between them?

Now, let’s check National Agricultural Library of USDA to know more about the categorization of sweeteners.

Sweeteners are separated into two types, including nutritive sweeteners and nonnutritive sweeteners.

Nutritive sweeteners, also known as caloric sweeteners or sugars, provide energy in the form of carbohydrates, consists of sugars found naturally in foods and the added sugars added to food prior to consumption or during preparation or processing. (Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweetener Resources)

And Nonnutritive sweeteners are zero- or low-calorie alternatives to nutritive sweeteners, such as table sugar. (Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweetener Resources)

For information about added sugars, please click here.



Next fact-checking


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *