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U.S. added sugars intake recommendation

Healthy People 2030 is the plan for improving health and wellbeing in the USA. It includes 358 core, measurable objectives and 14 of these relate to nutrition and healthy eating. One of these objectives is to reduce the consumption of calories (kilojoules) from added sugars by people 2 years of age and above.

Current added sugars consumption: 13.5% Energy (2013-16 data from NHANES)

Target added sugars consumption: 11.5% Energy

A paper addressing how the USA might meet their target of 11.5% energy from added sugars found it was achievable through modest reductions in sugar intake ranging from 14-57 calories per day (or 3.5g-14.3g added sugar), depending on whether the general population or higher consumers were targeted. 

Current consumption levels Australia and New Zealand are less than the USA. Here is the data.

New Zealand

An analysis of 2008-9 survey data found median intake of added sugars in adults 15 years and over was 10% energy (mean data not available).  

Data for children is not available, however looking at sucrose intake as a proxy for all added sugars, 5–14-year-old children consumed 12.9% energy from sucrose, with Māori children consuming more.


It’s difficult to compare added sugars as Australia now measures ‘free sugars’ as per the WHO definition (includes added sugar, fruit juices and fruit concentrates) rather than added sugars. Australia’s data is from 2011-12 and this is considered old, especially when food trends including the rise of sugar alternatives are considered.

According to best estimates (2011-12) Australia’s population average free sugars intake is 10.9% energy and added sugars would be less. Australians consumed on average 60g free sugars of which 52g was added sugar. Extrapolating this ratio (52/60: 86/100) and applying it to the 10.9% free sugars figure yields 9.5% energy as added sugars.

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