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NewsBites January 2013 Issue

We’re Not Eating as Much Sugar, After All

The USDA has revised longstanding estimates that Americans eat 95 to 100 pounds of sugar and other caloric sweeteners each year. A new methodology, including revised estimates of how much food gets purchased but never actually consumed, puts the average at a lower 76.7 pounds. Even as the debate over sugarís health effects was escalating, five years ago, the USDA hired a consulting firm to overhaul its "consumer-level food-loss estimates." Those revisions, said to be more firmly grounded in data, led in part to the lower sugar-consumption figures. Loss estimates for foods containing caloric sweeteners other than sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup, were boosted to match those of sugar. Healthy-eating advocates criticized the new numbers, worrying that the change could reduce pressure on food companies to cut down on sugar.

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