Were 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 sugars 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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