4364.0.55.011 - Australian Health Survey: Consumption of added sugars, 2011-12  
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HOW MUCH SUGAR WAS CONSUMED?

In 2011-12, Australians consumed an average of 105 grams of total sugars per day. Just over half of this was free sugars (60 grams, equivalent to approximately 14 level teaspoons of white sugar1), with the balance (45 grams) being the intrinsic sugars2 within intact fruit plus the naturally occurring sugar in milk. The majority of free sugar intakes comes from added sugars with an average 52 grams (or 12 teaspoons), with 7 grams of free sugars coming from honey and fruit juice (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: Total sugars, free sugars and added sugars - average consumption(a)(b), 2011-12
Figure 1 shows the average consumption of total sugars, free sugars and added sugars for persons 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS results.
(a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
(b) Persons aged 2 years and over.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12
See Glossary for detailed inclusions of each definition.
* Not directly measured - calculated from the difference between the measured sugar components.



The total amount of sugar consumed increased throughout childhood years peaking in the 14-18 years age group for males and 9-13 years for females, then declined in successively older adult age groups. The peaks in total sugar intakes amongst teenagers are driven almost entirely by the consumption of free sugars, evident from the relatively constant intake of intrinsic sugars from intact fruit plus natural milk sugar across age groups.

At 14-18 years, the average daily intakes of free sugars were 92 grams for males and 70 grams for females (22 and 17 teaspoons respectively). The lowest free sugar consumption was by the 2-3 year olds who had around 39-42 grams (or 9-10 teaspoons) per day, reflecting the overall smaller quantity of food consumed by young children. Similarly, the declining amounts of free sugars consumed in older adult age groups in part reflects the lower volume of food consumed by older adults, but also the types of foods consumed.


This graph shows the average intake of total sugars, free sugars, and intrinsic and milk sugars for males aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
This graph shows the average intake of total sugars, free sugars, and intrinsic and milk sugars for females aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
(a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12


While the average provides an overall summary of consumption for a group, the distribution of usual consumption3 highlights the wide variation in amounts consumed. For instance, the amount consumed by the top 10% (or 90th percentile) of the 14-18 year old males was at least 160 grams (38 teaspoons) per day, followed by 9-13 year old males, where the amount of free sugars consumed by the top 10% was at least 145 grams (34 teaspoons) per day, while the top 10% of 19-30 year old males had at least 138 grams (33 teaspoons) per day. In contrast, the median consumption (which represents the midpoint in the distribution) for most age groups was around half the amount of the 90th percentile.

Among females, the top 10% (or 90th percentile) of the 9-13 year olds had at least 119 grams (28 teaspoons) per day, with the top 10% of the 14-18 year old females usually having at least 113 grams (27 teaspoons) per day. The median amount for these age groups was equivalent to around 17 and 16 teaspoons respectively.


This graph shows the usual consumption of free sugars (selected percentiles) for males aged 2 years and over. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.This graph shows the usual consumption of free sugars (selected percentiles) for females aged 2 years and over. Data is based on usual intake from 2011-12 NNPAS.
(a) Usual Intake. See Glossary for definition.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12




ENDNOTES

1 All references to teaspoons within this publication refer to a level teaspoon of white sugar.

2 The definitions of free sugars, intrinsic sugars and sugars from milk are based on WHO concepts and terminology. See Glossary for definitions.

3 Usual intakes are modelled estimates which account for the day-to-day variation in intake of individuals the amounts of (or proportions of energy of) free sugar usually consumed by a given proportion of the population. See the AHS User's Guide for more details.



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