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Issues & People

Health Report: Sugar Consumption Study Results


Consumption of sugary beverages is associated with the risk of dental caries and poor oral health. To help dentists and healthcare professionals better understand Canadian’s consumption of *free sugars, Statistics Canada just released a Health Report detailing the results of a cross-sectional survey that includes data collected in 2004 and from *January to December 2015.

Report Highlights

  • From 2004 to 2015, sugar consumption among Canadians has decreased overall.
  • Total sugars consumed from food alone increased, while total sugars consumed from beverages alone decreased.
  • Canadians are drinking fewer sugary drinks than they were 10 years ago, but sugary beverages remain their top source of sugar intake.
  • While the overall food intake of Canadians has decreased but sugar consumption through food has increased.
  • If all sugary drinks (pop, milk, juice, fruit drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and tea) were included in a single category, they would be the top sugar source for all Canadians.

How Much Sugar are Canadians Consuming?

Ages 1-8

  • In 2015, the average daily intake of sugar from children aged one to eight was 101 grams, down three grams form the previous year.

Ages 9-19

  • In 2015 older children aged nine to 18 consumed 115 grams of sugar daily down from 128 grams back in 2004 for the same age group. For both age groups, in 2015, one-third of total daily sugar intake was from drinks that did, and did not contain free sugars.

Ages 19 and over

  • Adults ages 19 and older consumed 85 grams of sugar each day in 2015, down from 93 grams daily in 2004.

What does it mean?

According to the report, “Despite the high proportions found in this study, percentages of sugary beverages consumed in 2015 were significantly lower than in 2004, which suggests a decrease in consumption across age groups”.

Talking to your patients about sugary drinks and food

The World Health Organization recommends reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. To help your patients make healthier choices when consuming sugar direct them to:

  • CDA resources including our position on junk food and child health.
  • Canada’s new Food Guide which takes a focus on lowering sugar consumption.
  • Limit or reduce consumption of pop and alcohol and choose beverages with less sugar and consumer fewer sugary foods.
Healthier Drink Choices Drinks to Limit or Avoid
  • Decaffeinated coffee or tea without added sugar
  • Water with slices of lemon or lime
  • Sparkling water or Club Soda
  • Low fat milk or soy beverages
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Flavoured Milk
  • Bubble tea and ice teas
  • Soft drinks (pop, soda)

Read the full report and leave a comment about this post in the box below or send us your feedback by email at or call us at 1-855-716-2747.

Until next time!

CDA Oasis Team

*Free sugars refer to monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices. Since national-level free sugars data are not currently available for Canadians, total sugars intake was examined to understand sugars intake in the population.

* To account for potential misreporting in comparisons of total sugars intakes between the two surveys, respondents were classified by survey year as under-reporters, plausible reporters or over-reporters, based on a comparison of their total predicted energy expenditure and their reported energy intake

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