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Research Updates | Consumption

Worldwide trends in dietary sugars intake: An overview

27 / 02 / 15

Wittekind & Walton estimated changes and trends in sugar intake from the national nutrition surveys of 13 developed countries (all countries that report sugar intake in national nutrition surveys).

A review of dietary surveys in the developed world was conducted. No trends could be identified for the developing world. Data was only included if the following had been reported: results for more than one survey was available and individual sugar intake data by age and sex was collected. Surveys were included regardless of dietary assessment methodologies, or changes in population demographics.

Findings indicate that in the majority of populations examined, estimated dietary sugar intake is either stable or decreasing in both absolute (g/d) and relative (% energy) terms. An increase was observed in few countries and only in specific sub populations (dietary sugar intake increased before a subsequent decrease in seven comparisons, and with inconsistent findings by age-group subcategories in eight comparisons).

Limitations: This paper is limited by inconsistent dietary assessment methodology within countries and between countries: not all countries, particularly developing countries, collected this information; and if it was collected it was infrequent and the methodology changed between surveys. The terminology and definition of sugar varied between countries, thus preventing direct comparisons.