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Procedure to Estimate Added and Free Sugars in Food Items from the Swedish Food Composition Database Used in the National Dietary Survey Riksmaten Adolescents 2016-17.

Journal article
Authors Julia Wanselius
Cecilia Axelsson
Lotta Moraeus
Christina Berg
Irene Mattisson
Christel Larsson
Published in Nutrients
Volume 11
Issue 6
ISSN 2072-6643
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science
Language en
Subject categories Domestic science and nutrition, Public health science


A high intake of added and free sugars is associated with poor diet quality, caries, and potentially has a role in non-communicable diseases. As a result, dietary guidelines advice limitation. However, there is no standardized method for estimation of added and free sugars in food items and consequently intake is difficult to measure. This study aimed to refine a procedure for sugars estimation and apply it to a Swedish dietary survey on adolescents (Riksmaten Adolescents 2016-17). A national sample of 3099 adolescents in school year 5, 8 and 11 participated (55% girls). Individual dietary intake data from two non-consecutive days was collected retrospectively and used for analysis. A ten-step systematic procedure for estimation of sugars in a Swedish context has been developed by combining two earlier methods, one for estimation of added sugars and one for free sugars. Sugars estimates were made for all food items comprising the survey database. Mainly objective decisions were necessary to make the estimates (92% and 93% for the sugars respectively); meaning that the procedure was largely transparent. In relation to Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, 45% of the participants had an intake that adhered to the guidelines. However, the majority of intakes was close to the recommendation. Further research on how specific food sources contribute to added and free sugars is necessary to facilitate further guidance on sugars and how to reach recommended target levels in Sweden.

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