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Too Much Added Sugar

Carbohydrates, including sugars, comprise the body's primary source of energy. Sugar occurs naturally in many foods (i.e., fruits and dairy products), but there are countless processed foods that contain high amounts of refined sugar.

A little sugar is OK, but too much can contribute to poor overall diet and poor health. The figures show that Americans consume far too much sugar on a daily basis.

As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, 15,010 people two years of age and older recorded a 24-hour recall of dietary intake. Researchers calculated intake of added sweeteners, paying specific attention to average intake from all sources and from specific categories; contribution of added sweeteners to total energy intake; and percentage contribution of each food category to total added sweetener intake.

  • An average of 82 grams of carbohydrates per day came from added sweeteners, accounting for 16% of total energy intake. (Nutritional guidelines recommend that between 6-10% of carbohydrates come from sugars.)
  • Adolescents consumed the most added sweeteners as a percentage of energy (20% of total energy intake).
  • The primary sources of added sweeteners were soft drinks (33%), sweets (candies, syrups, honey, table sugar ­ 16.1%), and sweetened grains (cookies and cakes ­ 12.9%).

If you're consuming a lot of sugar, you're probably not getting enough of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients your body needs to function properly. In fact, the sweeteners Americans seem to consume most frequently (non-diet soft drinks, candy, syrups and jellies, etc.) possess no nutritional value whatsoever except for the sugar. Teach your children about the importance of a balanced diet that minimizes consumption of refined sugar. Your doctor of chiropractic can evaluate the nutritional status of your family and suggest appropriate modifications to maximize wellness. Guthrie JF, Morton JF. Food sources of added sweeteners in the diets of Americans. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2000: Vol. 100, pp43-48, 51.


Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, et al. Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 1999: Vol. 69, No. 4, pp727-36.