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Quick Fix: How Much Sugar Do You Suck Down Each Day?

When you crave, and then eat, something sweet and sugary, rarely do we think, “How much sugar is actually in this thing?” No, we may think about how something sugar-laden may not be all that good for us, that it may cause cavities, raise our blood pressure, or maybe we will just simply put all of those notions out of our heads and tell ourselves, “this tastes flippin’ delicious!” But the question of volume rarely comes into play. Recently, Jamie Oliver and his second season of the widely viewed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution brought forth the physicality of all the sugar we (or at least school children attending Los Angeles Public Schools) are consuming with a stunt. He used tons upon tons of white sand (as a stand in for white granulated sugar) to bury a yellow school bus in a mountain of the stuff, to demonstrate the massive amount of sugar annually consumed in the flavored milk they drink.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

More recently, The New York Times ran a very convincing article titled, “Is Sugar Toxic?” that posited the theory that sugar is not just bad for you, but has overwhelming toxic properties that spell the death of us. Dr. Robert Lustig, who was widely quoted in the article does his best to debunk the last 30 years of nutritional information shoved down our throats, and demonize sugar in this lengthy, but informative, video lecture:

The fact is American adults consume consume 22.2 teaspoons of sugar daily — or 355 calories, which goes far beyond the daily recommended amount, says Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst. He says average-sized women should be consuming no more than 6.25 teaspoons; men 9.4. Basically, Americans eat more than double the daily recommended amount of sugar added to food. It goes without saying that reducing sugar consumption can, and will, reduce weight, along with the possibility of high blood pressure, heart disease, and organ failure, but we, as a culture, have a hard time giving up, or even limiting, our daily sugar intake.

What do you do to maintain an awareness of your sugar consumption? Has it been a problem for you or loved ones? Have you had any success in driving sugar out of your life?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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1:37PM PDT on May 19, 2011

That is a bitter truth.

10:52AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

6:56AM PDT on May 18, 2011

Sodas have a lo of sugar in each bottle!

5:39PM PDT on May 15, 2011

Too often 'reduced fast' equals increased sugar! Few of us get enough time to cook all of our own food but checking what is added (where we can) is always a good idea + be aware of the loads of different names used for 'sugar'.

12:08PM PDT on May 12, 2011

More than I should, I guess...
I'll be more careful in the future.
Thanks for posting!

12:51PM PDT on May 8, 2011


2:32PM PDT on May 7, 2011

Since many of us use much less I wonder what some people consume?

1:24PM PDT on May 7, 2011

22 teaspoons sugar daily is too much.

11:11AM PDT on May 5, 2011


5:18PM PDT on May 4, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Thanks for the good advice. Practice meditation, especially the zen Buddhism variety will definitel…


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