Next year, the global consumption of sugar is expected to reach a record high of 171 million tons, according to a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture. That's more sugar than we've ever been able to guzzle down. And it means, globally, we'll consume the equivalent weight in sugar of about 85 million cars.
In the US, sugar consumption has been rising for years. To maintain a healthy weight, the World Health Organization recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day. Yet the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported that the average American is now consuming 23 teaspoons of added sugar each day. These sweeteners are hidden in everything from the tea you drink to the yogurt you eat and the peanut butter you buy.
Right now, about two out of three American adults and one out of three children are overweight or obese. Many factors are believed to have played a role in the obesity crisis in this country — from eating too many calories overall to changes in our environment.
But the increasingly important place of sugar in our diets has been singled out as a key cause of our expanding waistlines, and linked with other worrying health trends, including diabetes to heart disease. These outcomes are so troubling, some believe that sugar should be treated like a controlled substance.