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Gallup Vault
Gallup Vault: America's Sweet Tooth
Gallup Vault

Gallup Vault: America's Sweet Tooth

America's love of sugar is not new. In March 1942, shortly before wartime sugar rationing went into effect, Gallup asked American women how many pounds of sugar their family used in a week. The majority reported using three or more pounds weekly, which -- with family size taken into account -- averaged just over a pound per person per week.

1942: Americans' Wartime Sugar Consumption, as Reported by "U.S. Housewives"
About how many pounds of sugar a week does your family use?
March 12-17, 1942%
Up to two pounds 44
Three to four pounds 27
Five to six pounds 22
Seven or more pounds 7
Weekly average per person, per household: 1.1 pounds
Gallup poll

In a follow-up question, Gallup asked women the smallest amount of sugar their family could get by on each week. According to Gallup's April 1942 release, "Rural housewives, the study shows, use more sugar at present -- 1.1 lbs. per person weekly on average -- than city housewives, who use approximately 0.9 lb. Both groups, however, say they can get along on 0.6 lb., or 9 1/2 ounces."

These estimates reflect only the use of sugar in the home -- not sugar in soft drinks, prepared foods or restaurant meals. Still, the contrast with current sugar consumption is striking. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that Americans consume an average of 152 pounds of added sugar per year, which works out to nearly half a pound per person per day, or nearly three pounds a week.

These data can be found in Gallup Analytics.

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