Data Presentation Description – American Sugar Consumption

This infographic presents data related to American sugar consumption and its health consequences. The original can be found at

Brandon Levy

Given my interest in nutrition, I often come across data presentations that address Americans’ consumption of various sorts of food, many of which focus on sugar. This infographic, titled “Nursing Your Sweet Tooth,” includes multiple data presentations that display information about Americans’ sugar consumption. Given the shocking nature of some of the images in the infographic, its intended audience appears to be Americans who either are not aware of the incredible quantity of sugar consumed in the US and the associated health effects or don’t really care about these issues. The shocking images – such as one showing a mouth eating ten strips of bacon, the caloric equivalent of the average American’s daily sugar consumption – are probably intended to persuade people who are not particularly health-conscious that consuming lots of sugar is unhealthy and that they should cut back on their sugar intake.

The infographic shows a variety of data, including how much sugar the average American consumes each year and every five days; how many 12-ounce sodas that equates to; how much sugar people should be consuming compared to what they actually consume; what kinds of foods provide Americans’ with most of their sugar intake; and how many calories from sugar the average American consumes daily. As I said before, the shocking nature of some of the images strikes me as very convincing, although they may turn off some people who don’t want to acknowledge the reality of their sugar consumption. In addition, some of the data presentations are a bit arbitrary, such as the one that compares 5-day average sugar consumption in the modern day with (for some unclear reason) the year 1812. But I do think the use of familiar food items like 12-ounce sodas, pop tarts, and Twinkies to represent certain quantities of sugar, along with bacon to represent the calories in sugar, makes the infographic much more accessible and intelligible to a lay audience than it otherwise would be.