Consumption of added sugars is decreasing in the United States

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):726-34. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.018366. Epub 2011 Jul 13.


Background: The consumption of added sugars (caloric sweeteners) has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Little is known about recent consumption trends in the United States or how intakes compare with current guidelines.

Objective: We examined trends in intakes of added sugars in the United States over the past decade.

Design: A cross-sectional study of US residents ≥2 y of age (n = 42,316) was conducted by using dietary data from NHANES 1999-2008 (five 2-y cycles) and data for added-sugar contents from the MyPyramid Equivalents Database. Mean intakes of added sugars (grams and percentage of total energy intake) were weighted to obtain national estimates over time across age, sex, and race-ethnic groups. Linear trends were tested by using Wald's F tests.

Results: Between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, the absolute intake of added sugars decreased from a mean (95% CI) of 100.1 g/d (92.8, 107.3 g/d) to 76.7 g/d (71.6, 81.9 g/d); two-thirds of this decrease, from 37.4 g/d (32.6, 42.1 g/d) to 22.8 g/d (18.4, 27.3 g/d), resulted from decreased soda consumption (P-linear trend <0.001 for both). Energy drinks were the only source of added sugars to increase over the study period (P-linear trend = 0.003), although the peak consumption reached only 0.15 g/d (0.08, 0.22 g/d). The percentage of total energy from added sugars also decreased from 18.1% (16.9%, 19.3%) to 14.6% (13.7%, 15.5%) (P-linear trend <0.001).

Conclusion: Although the consumption of added sugars in the United States decreased between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, primarily because of a reduction in soda consumption, mean intakes continue to exceed recommended limits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Carbonated Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Diet / trends*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Food Handling
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Carbohydrates