Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Annual sugar consumption...what's yours?

I've always loved chocolate chip cookies, or as my best friend and I called them, CCCs. We could eat a bag in one sitting. "Chips Ahoy!" Yes, matey, even the name seemed to call to us. We'd wash them down with a gallon of milk and then lay around in our hot, sticky dorm room, lounging off the sugar coma, not even remotely sorry for what we'd done. Uhhhhh, even now I'm feeling the craving coming over me. I don't do crazy things like that anymore.

Well, maybe it's a little crazy to keep track of how much sugar you eat in a year. But that's what I'm going to do. I read in an article that the average annual sugar consumption in the U.S. is about 150 pounds. Maybe it's some tiny scrap of competitiveness finally surging within me, but I'm curious as to how I measure up.

Picture 1

In this chart published by the USDA, you can see that Americans, on average, consume 65.6 pounds of cane and beet sugar. I'm not sure how I'll compare to that but I can make good guesses about the other two categories. I'm pretty allergic to high fructose corn syrup so I do everything I can to avoid it. Honey, on the other hand, is an important staple in our household. I think I'll go well over the pound and a half average!

So how am I going to do it?

First, I'll break it into two categories: at home sugar consumption and outside sugar consumption.

I bake a lot so, for me, the first category is as important, if not more so, than the second. It will also be easier to measure. I'll simply take note of how much sugar I have in the house currently, keep track of how much I buy during the year, and subtract what's left in my pantry at the end of the year. Of course, Jay will eat some of what I bake, so I'll divide this in half. (Or take 60%? Do I eat more of my baked goods than Jay?)

For sweets consumed outside the house, I'll just have to keep a record and make my best guess as to how much sugar is in the item. At the end, I'll also round up a pound or two since sugar is in so many things you wouldn't suspect: sauces, breads, etc.

I think this should give me a reasonably accurate estimate of my annual sugar consumption. Plus, I'm hoping that, by being more aware of it, (and having to note it!), I might lower my consumption a bit outside the house.

So, let's see what happens! At the moment, I'm in the middle of my annual New Year's six-week sugar fast, so consumption is almost zero. (I say almost because there's been a few cheats. Fortunately, there have been few enough that I can remember them all and will record them!)


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