How Much Sugar? Recommended vs Reality.
How Much Sugar? Recommended vs Reality.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The average American adult consumes around 21 tsp or 84 g per day. This person may not be consuming overly sweet foods, such as large quantities of soda, candy or desserts, but may, unbeknownst to him/her, be consuming high quantities of sugar in foods marketed as being healthy, particularly items denoted as “low-fat,” which often contain large amounts of sugar to make up for the removal of flavor originally in the fat.(Image: sugar cubes labeled with letters spelling United States and WHO, showing recommended sugar quantities, and a silhouette map of the US showing the average daily consumption.)

Sugar: The Sweetest Killer
Sugar: The Sweetest Killer

Photography: Caylena Cahill
Food Styling: Jill Keller

Disease
Disease

According to Health.gov, “About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. … In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion. In 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.”

Research shows that the overconsumption of sugars, and particularly certain types of sugar, can be linked to lifestyle diseases and even death. The way our bodies process certain sugars can lead to sugars being converted to fat for storage, malfunction of insulin and the liver, the increase and spread of free radicals in our bloodstreams, obsession and addition to sugar, and the rise of so called “bad bacteria” in the gut microbiome.(Image: Sugary lightbulb showing names of lifestyle diseases related to sugar.)

Sugar Related Deaths
Sugar Related Deaths

The number of deaths of American adults in 2014 related to lifestyle diseases connected to sugar, such as Diabetes and Heart Disease.(Image: Cake with skull/crossbones and number of deaths).

Weight In America
Weight In America

As of 2011-12, 35.1% of Americans over 20 are medically obese and 69.0% of Americans over 20 are either medically overweight or or obese. This means, 1 of roughly every 3 people is obese and either severe risk for, or already suffering from, any number of lifestyle related diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even early death. 2 out of 3 American adults is at a higher risk than those of of a healthy weight. And, only 1 out of every 3 adults is in a healthy weight bracket.(Image: 3 apples, 4 muffins, 3 cupcakes.)

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Breakfast
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Breakfast

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

 

Breakfast

Corn Crisps & Dried Fruit Cereal (like Raisin Bran), with Vanilla Soy Milk
Yogurt Parfait – vanilla greek yogurt with blueberry compote
Flavored Latte – (espresso/coffee, milk, flavored syrup)

Total Sugar: 89 – 132g // 22.25 – 33 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day
A Typical “Healthy” Day

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

 

Lunch

Peanut Butter & Jelly on Wheat Bread
Fruit Cup – Mandarins in syrup
Fruit Smoothie – pre-packaged

Total Sugar: 59 – 102 g or 14.75 – 25.5 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Afternoon Snack
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Afternoon Snack

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Afternoon

Bar (typical bar with nature or health themed marketing)
Sports Drink (average colored sports beverage)

Total Sugar: 28-43g or 7-10.75 tsp

 

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Dinner
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Dinner

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Dinner

Spaghetti Squash, with average store-bought sauce
Salad with average store-bought salad dressing
Apple tart with whipped cream
Iced Tea, sweetened

Total Sugar: 11.25 – 19 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Late Night Pleasantry
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Late Night Pleasantry

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Late Night Pleasantry

Dark Chocolate Pieces
Hot Tea

Total Sugar: 15g or 4.75 tsp

How Much Sugar? Recommended vs Reality.
Sugar: The Sweetest Killer
Disease
Sugar Related Deaths
Weight In America
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Breakfast
A Typical “Healthy” Day
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Afternoon Snack
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Dinner
A Typical “Healthy” Day: Late Night Pleasantry
How Much Sugar? Recommended vs Reality.

The World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The average American adult consumes around 21 tsp or 84 g per day. This person may not be consuming overly sweet foods, such as large quantities of soda, candy or desserts, but may, unbeknownst to him/her, be consuming high quantities of sugar in foods marketed as being healthy, particularly items denoted as “low-fat,” which often contain large amounts of sugar to make up for the removal of flavor originally in the fat.(Image: sugar cubes labeled with letters spelling United States and WHO, showing recommended sugar quantities, and a silhouette map of the US showing the average daily consumption.)

Sugar: The Sweetest Killer

Photography: Caylena Cahill
Food Styling: Jill Keller

Disease

According to Health.gov, “About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. … In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be $147 billion. In 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in decreased productivity.”

Research shows that the overconsumption of sugars, and particularly certain types of sugar, can be linked to lifestyle diseases and even death. The way our bodies process certain sugars can lead to sugars being converted to fat for storage, malfunction of insulin and the liver, the increase and spread of free radicals in our bloodstreams, obsession and addition to sugar, and the rise of so called “bad bacteria” in the gut microbiome.(Image: Sugary lightbulb showing names of lifestyle diseases related to sugar.)

Sugar Related Deaths

The number of deaths of American adults in 2014 related to lifestyle diseases connected to sugar, such as Diabetes and Heart Disease.(Image: Cake with skull/crossbones and number of deaths).

Weight In America

As of 2011-12, 35.1% of Americans over 20 are medically obese and 69.0% of Americans over 20 are either medically overweight or or obese. This means, 1 of roughly every 3 people is obese and either severe risk for, or already suffering from, any number of lifestyle related diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even early death. 2 out of 3 American adults is at a higher risk than those of of a healthy weight. And, only 1 out of every 3 adults is in a healthy weight bracket.(Image: 3 apples, 4 muffins, 3 cupcakes.)

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Breakfast

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

 

Breakfast

Corn Crisps & Dried Fruit Cereal (like Raisin Bran), with Vanilla Soy Milk
Yogurt Parfait – vanilla greek yogurt with blueberry compote
Flavored Latte – (espresso/coffee, milk, flavored syrup)

Total Sugar: 89 – 132g // 22.25 – 33 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

 

Lunch

Peanut Butter & Jelly on Wheat Bread
Fruit Cup – Mandarins in syrup
Fruit Smoothie – pre-packaged

Total Sugar: 59 – 102 g or 14.75 – 25.5 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Afternoon Snack

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Afternoon

Bar (typical bar with nature or health themed marketing)
Sports Drink (average colored sports beverage)

Total Sugar: 28-43g or 7-10.75 tsp

 

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Dinner

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Dinner

Spaghetti Squash, with average store-bought sauce
Salad with average store-bought salad dressing
Apple tart with whipped cream
Iced Tea, sweetened

Total Sugar: 11.25 – 19 tsp

A Typical “Healthy” Day: Late Night Pleasantry

A piece consisting of 5 dyptichs illustrating meals that the average person would think of as “healthy.” One shows the meal itself. The other piece shows the surprising amount of sugar in each dish. The actual amount varies based on specific brands or types, but the numbers here represent a middle of the road selection, based on research of various brands and their specific nutrition labels. This is an industry wide problem, so this project is not targeted at any specific company. Remember that the World Health Organization recommends no more than 6 tsp or 24g of added sugars per day, and the US Government recommends no more than 12 tsp or 50 g. The total amount of sugar in this average/fictitious day is 60-93 tsp or 240-372g, at least 10x the WHO’s recommendation and 5x the US Government’s recommendation.

Late Night Pleasantry

Dark Chocolate Pieces
Hot Tea

Total Sugar: 15g or 4.75 tsp

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