Sugar Facts & Statistics 2024 | Surprising Facts & Data

lollies and other sugary sweets on a table and text 'Dietary Sugar Statistics'

Americans have a complex relationship with sugar. As noted throughout our main Nutrition Statistics page, there has been a low-fat craze in society since the 1970s, but we’re only just now beginning to see the relationship between sugar and obesity.

  • Americans eat 20 teaspoons, or 100 grams of sugar every day. [1]
  • Meanwhile, 50 grams/day (10 tsp) is the recommendation for healthier living (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). [2]
  • 10% or less of total diet is the goal.
  • The American Heart Association, however, recommends as little as 45 grams of sugar for men, and 30 for women.
  • Other estimates put the US consumption of sugar at 300% more than healthy levels[3]

Consumption over time tells us a slightly more nuanced story:

  • 110 grams per day, per person, in 1999.
  • Down to 92.5 grams/day in 2016.
  • Refined sugar went from 59 g/d in 1970 to 35 g/d in 1986.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), however, went from 1g/day in 1970 to 37.5g/day in 1999, more than offsetting the effects of reduced refined sugar.
  • HFCS leveled off to 24g/day in 2016, with refined sugar rising back up to 40.5g/day in that same year. [4]

Comparing these data to Gallup [5] surveys can reveal interesting conflations–and contradictions:

  • 60% of people claim to avoid regular sodas.   
  • 50% claim to avoid sugar, generally.      

Effects of Sugar

  • One study cited by Johns Hopkins says that a high sugar diet leads to a 38% greater risk of heart disease.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup and Obesity have seen parallel increases since the 1970s. [6]
  • Similarly, lower rates of sugar consumption in the 1990s and early 2000s paralleled a slowing of obesity prevalence.
  • Study after study has proven the link between sugar and obesity, both in molecular chemistry and in clinical trials. [7]
  • 34 year study showed drinking 2 sugary beverages per day increases the chances of death by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Common Sugar Content

  • 58% of daily sugar in a 12 oz. sweetened tea (29g, 115 calories).
  • 74% in a soda (37g and 157 calories).
  • 86% in a 12 oz. lemonade (43g, 170 calories).
  • And a whopping 118% of daily sugar in a fruit drink. That’s based on 59 grams of added sugar and 240 calories.
  • 30% of daily sugar intake comes in the form of desserts, snacks, and cereal.


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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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