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Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):134-42. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2013.11.004. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors of adults concerning nonalcoholic beverages suggest some lack of comprehension related to sugars.

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  • 1Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
  • 2Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
  • 3Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Electronic address:


Key recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and US Department of Agriculture's MyPlate are to reduce the intake of added sugars, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, and drink water instead of "sugary" beverages. However, little is known about consumer knowledge, perceptions, and behaviors regarding sugars in beverages. We hypothesized that consumers would have limited or inaccurate knowledge of the sugars in beverages and that their beverage consumption behaviors would not reflect their primary concerns related to sugars in beverages. An online survey was completed by 3361 adults 18 years and older residing throughout the United States. Water was consumed in the highest amounts followed by (in descending amounts) other beverages (includes coffee and tea), added sugar beverages, milk, diet drinks, and 100% fruit juice and blends. Participants primarily associated the term "sugary" with beverages containing added sugars; however, almost 40% identified 100% fruit juice as sugary. Some participants misidentified the types of sugars in beverages, particularly with respect to milk and 100% fruit juices. Generally, beverage choices were consistent with stated concerns about total, added, or natural sugars; however, less than 40% of participants identified added sugars as a primary concern when choosing beverages despite public health recommendations to reduce the intake of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages. Results suggest that there may be a considerable level of consumer misunderstanding or confusion about the types of sugars in beverages. More consumer research and education are needed with the goal of helping consumers make more informed and healthy beverage choices.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


ANOVA; Adults; Behaviors; Beverages; Dietary sugars; Food intake; HFCS; NHANES; National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; SSB; Surveys; US Department of Agriculture; USDA; analysis of variance; high-fructose corn syrup; sugar-sweetened beverage

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