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Research Updates | Consumption

Free sugars intake among Australian children

08 / 04 / 19

Finding: Median free sugars intake in this study of Australian 2-year-olds was 22.5g a day, estimated at 8% of energy. Socially disadvantaged children were the highest consumers. Juices were the highest contributor of free sugars


Intake data in toddlers 2 years of age is limited. This study describes free sugars intakes, food sources and determinants of high consumption in this cohort (N=2181)using a customised Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). Median usual free sugars intake was 22.5g, contributing a mean 8% of total energy (based on estimated Energy Requirement, EER). Mean intake was 29.3g and 10.4% EER. Based on EER, 38% of children exceeded the WHO 10% energy from free sugars limit and 71% exceeded 5% energy from free sugars. Children from the most socially disadvantaged families were more likely to have higher intakes and exceed 10% energy from free sugars. Main sources of free sugars (in order) were fruit and vegetable juice (11%), infant custards and yoghurts (10%), regular yoghurts (9%), cakes, muffins and cake-type desserts (8%), sweet biscuits (7%), sugar, honey and syrups (5%), chocolate-based confectionery (5%) and unflavoured dairy milk substitutes (4%). The authors conclude more effort is needed to reduce juices and non-core sources of free sugars during introduction to solids and into the toddler years.

NOTE: Free sugars are added sugars plus fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates.


Devenish G, Golley R, Mukhtar A, Begley A Free sugars intake, sources and determinants of high consumption among Australian 2-year-olds in the SMILE cohort. Nutrients 2019;11(1)

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