Canadians take in 26 tsp of sugar a day: StatsCan

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Do Canadians have a sweet tooth?

A new report from Statistics Canada indicates that one in every five calories that Canadians consume comes from sugar — whether naturally occurring as in milk or fruit, or added to foods and beverages like soft drinks and candy.

On average, the study found that Canadians consumed 110 grams of sugar a day, which works out to 26 teaspoons or 21 per cent of their daily calorie intake.

The information was collected as part of the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, which had more than 34,000 respondents recall everything they’d had to eat or drink in the past 24 hours.

The Canadian study shows 31 per cent of sugar consumed was from vegetables and fruit, but 35 per cent came from “other” foods category, which includes items like soft drinks and candy.

Sugar consumption was lowest among women aged 71 and over, at 20 teaspoons, and highest among teenage boys aged 14 to 18, at 41 teaspoons.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends that no more than 25 per cent of total daily energy intake should come from added sugars, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily maximum of 10 per cent of calories from free sugars, in other words added sugar, syrups or honey.

It’s not possible to assess where Canadians stand in relation to these thresholds, because the study reported daily intake of sugar by food group and top 10 sources, but did not distinguish between naturally occurring and added sugars.

Sugar consumption among diabetics was lower than for the rest of the population and derived to a greater extent from fruit and vegetables, milk and grains. But it was still above current recommendations for diabetics.

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