Sugar is more than a sweetener for coffee or tea. It goes by many names including: fructose, glucose, corn syrup, honey, and sucrose (to name a few). All sugars, no matter what their name, are carbohydrates and provide people with energy. Sugar is most often associated with candy, soft drinks, and baked items, but can be found in almost any food. Sugar consumption is a tricky thing to control because the food industry often adds it where consumers might not think to check. The recommended limit for the daily dose of sugar for improved health is around 11 grams, or roughly no more than 5% of daily calorie intake. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this number should never exceed 25 grams. Many people consume far more than the recommendation. The following is a list of the top ten sugar consuming countries in the world.
The Top Ten Countries By Per Capita Sugar Intake
United States of America
The people of the US consume more sugar than any other country in the world. On average, Americans consume 126.4 grams of sugar daily. That represents ¼ of a pound and more than 10 times the lowest recommendation! Many Americans reach for fast, processed foods when hungry because they are readily available. These processed foods are full of hidden sugars like high fructose corn syrup.
In Germany, the intake is reduced but still does not fall under suggested guidelines. German residents consume 102.9 grams per day. With the desserts that come from the Bavarian region, this high intake level is easy to understand.
In the Netherlands, the third in sugar consumption, people eat or drink 102.5 grams of sugar daily. This is very similar to Germany, as both countries share a love of sweets.
Number 4 on the list is Ireland whose residents consume 96.7 grams of sugar daily. Tea with milk and sugar is a very common drink here. Being a developed country, residents also have access to lots of processed foods.
Australians take in 95.6 grams of sugar every day which is almost 4 times the maximum recommendation set by the WHO. Belgium, with their delicious chocolates, comes in at number 6 with a daily consumption of 95 grams of sugar daily.
The United Kingdom consumes less sugar than its other European counterparts. However, the amount still exceeds the recommended levels. At 93.2 grams of sugar daily, one begins to wonder about the health of its residents.
Number 8 on the list is Mexico. This country weighs in at a whopping 92.5 grams of sugar per person and with such a close proximity to the US, the result is not too surprising. Mexico also ranks number 1 in adult obesity.
Dangers of High Sugar Consumption
The topic of sugar consumption is an important factor in public health. A sugar-heavy diet is linked to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, poor dental health, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. What can be done to decrease sugar intake? First, drink water. Instead of reaching for a sugar-laden sodas, iced coffees, or juices, try water to quench thirst. Choose whole grains instead of refined, or “white”, carbohydrates. Whole grains take longer for the body to break down and do not increase blood sugar levels as quickly as processed carbohydrates. And finally, read nutrition labels. Avoid processed foods with more than 22.5 total sugars per 100 grams. Reducing sugar is a lifestyle change, and taking these steps will help prevent future health problems.