Sugar consumption became an extremely popular commodity in the 18th century. Sugar represented 20% of European imports between 1710 – 1770 CE and per capita consumption of sugar began to increase. Estimations of sugar consumption in Britain going back to 1700 demonstrate a dramatic increase in consumption beginning around 1850 and a continuation of the trend with brief periods of decline during the world wars during the first half of the 20th century. Researchers have observed a pronounced shift in the world’s diet in the period following World War II, with one of the major factors being an increase in sugar consumption.
A major contributor to continued increases in sugar intake in recent times appears to be sweetened beverages:
In 1977–78 two-thirds of added sugar in the US diet came from food, but today two-thirds comes from beverages.
— Barry Popkin et. al., Nutrition Reviews
Estimating per capita sugar consumption is problematic , it tends to start from overall sugar supply and then estimate what is eaten versus thrown away. It seems clear, however, that sugar consumption has increased drastically and that rise coincides with the emergence of the obesity epidemic and an increase in diabetes .