Surprise – The Majority of Added Sugars in Our Diet Come From …

added sugars

photo: PLOS

If you answered fast food restaurants, you are wrong. According to a new study by University of Washington researchers – Consumption of added sugars among US children and adults by food purchase location and food source – 71% of the added sugars in our diet come from grocery shopping. About 8% of added sugars are from fast food restaurants, and 5% are from sit-down restaurants.

Why is this an important finding?

As you may recall, the FDA has proposed a new nutrition label, and one of the changes is the specification of added sugars. The FDA hopes that forcing manufacturers to label the amount of sugar they add to foods will lead to a reduction. History is on the FDA’s side. In 2006, trans-fat labeling went into effect and the result was a sharp drop in the use of partially hydrogenated oils in processed food products.

Some food manufacturers have attacked the FDAs plans for labeling added sugars, claiming that it would only lead to consumer confusion, and that in any case, much of the added sugars in the diet come from non-groceries. Now we know that this claim is false.

  • Matt

    No surprise that soda is the main culprit. If restaurants didn’t give you a glass of ice with a splash of soda, then the results would have been closer.

  • Catherine

    I am not surprised. Trying to find groceries without loads of added sugar is a full time job at time! That is why I spend the majority of my time in the produce section and have cut way down on processed foods. I even bought raw chicken fillets one time that had sugar added (how? was it soaked in sugar? I never figured it out but I never bought that brand again)! I couldn’t believe it.

  • mfp142

    Totally agree. Cereals, soda, protein bars, energy drinks etc. And many frozen meats are soaked in sugar water as a “natural” tenderizer.

  • Fazal Majid

    Coming from Europe, it is shocking how sweet the baseline taste of food is in the USA. It boggles the mind that even basic staples like bread or soup are loaded with sugars (or worse, high fructose corn syrup).

  • Aria Gonzalez

    I would love this. Right now when I buy yogurt and want a flavored type, I have to grab the natural type and compare them to try and figure out how much sugar they’re putting in there. Yogurt is the most annoying thing in the world for that, due to the natural milk sugars.