September 21, 2011

Sugars consumption among Canadians of all ages is moderate and well within dietary recommendations for total carbohydrate (sugars and starches).

Today Statistics Canada released the health report: Sugar consumption among Canadians of all ages. The report describes Canadian intakes of total sugars (naturally occurring and added) based on nutrition information collected as part of the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS).

Overall consumption of sugars from all foods is 21% of total energy. The report shows that sugars are consumed in a wide variety of foods, contributing carbohydrate and energy and that no individual food contributes an excessive amount of sugars.

The Canadian Sugar Institute (CSI) is pleased to see this data because it will help dispel considerable misinformation regarding Canadian consumption patterns. The report shows that most sugars are consumed as part of the four food groups of Canada's Food Guide while 1/3 of the calories from total sugars come from "other foods". The sugars in those other foods account for about 7% of total daily energy.

"The report shows Canadians' total sugars consumption is moderate and within the 45-65% of energy that is recommended for carbohydrates", said Sandra Marsden, CSI President and registered dietitian. The report summarizes intakes of all sugars, which, along with starch and fibre, are carbohydrates. Whether naturally occurring or added, all sugars are the same to the body.

"Although added sugars are not analyzed, the report suggests that about half of the energy from total sugars is coming from added sugars, which is consistent with other estimates", said Dr. Tristin Brisbois, Manager of Nutrition and Scientific Affairs with the Institute. Total sugars were reported to be 21% of total energy; added sugars can be estimated to contribute approximately 10% of total energy, which is well below the Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes suggested maximum of 25%.

This report is an important publication as it reports Canadian consumption levels - often US food intake data is used to describe Canadian eating habits. "It is important to remember that consumption patterns in Canada are not the same as in the US", added Ms. Marsden.