Food sources of added sweeteners in the diets of Americans

J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Jan;100(1):43-51, quiz 49-50. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(00)00018-3.


Objective: To identify food sources of added sweeteners in the US diet.

Design: A descriptive study using data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. Each subject provided one 24-hour dietary recall. Intake of added sweeteners was calculated using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid servings database.

Subjects/setting: A national sample of noninstitutionalized persons aged 2 years and older (N = 15,010).

Statistical analyses: Mean intakes of added sweeteners from all food sources and from specific food categories; percentage contribution of added sweeteners to total energy intake; and percentage contribution of each food category to total intake of added sweeteners. All analyses were conducted for the total sample and for 12 age-gender groups.

Results: During 1994 to 1996, Americans aged 2 years and older consumed the equivalent of 82 g carbohydrate per day from added sweeteners, which accounted for 16% of total energy intake. In absolute terms, adolescent males consumed the most; as a percentage of energy, male and female adolescents had the highest intakes (averaging 20% of total energy from added sweeteners). The largest source of added sweeteners was regular soft drinks, which accounted for one third of intake. Other sources were table sugars, syrups, and sweets; sweetened grains; regular fruitades/drinks; and milk products.

Applications/conclusions: Intakes of added sweeteners exceed levels compatible with meeting current dietary recommendations. Knowing food sources of added sweeteners for the overall population and for specific age-gender groups can help dietitians provide appropriate nutrition education.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Carbonated Beverages / standards
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dairy Products / standards
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats / standards
  • Edible Grain / standards
  • Female
  • Food / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fruit / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat Products / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Sweetening Agents / standards*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Vegetables / standards


  • Dietary Fats
  • Sweetening Agents