Do Canadians have a sweet tooth? According to a Statistics Canada report, apparently we do. The document concludes that the average Canadian consumes the equivalent of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day, which accounts for a fifth of our daily caloric intake.
Statistics Canada reported that 35 percent of all sugar consumed comes from artificially sweetened products such as soft drinks, fruit cocktails and candy. The proportion of artificial sugar varied according to the age group: it accounted for 17 percent of sugar consumption among toddlers aged 1 to 3, but rose to 40 percent among teens aged 14 to 18, with a peak of nearly 50 percent among teenage boys in this age group. Men seemed to consume more added sugar than women, regardless of age.
There are no clear guidelines in Canada regarding maximum daily sugar consumption. In the United States, health authorities recommend that added sugars account for no more than 25 percent of daily caloric intake, while the World Health Organization states that the number should be much lower, with a recommended maximum of 10 percent.
The Statistics Canada report suggests that many Canadians, especially young ones, consume too much added sugar. Added sugars are a concern, because even though the sugar in fruits and dairy products come with many nutrients (e.g. vitamins and proteins), such is not the case with foods like soft drinks and candy. These “empty calories” actually play a significant role in weight gain and obesity.
Getting children involved in healthy meal preparation is the best way to teach good dietary habits as early as childhood. So why don’t you take on an apprentice chef to help you make dinner tonight?