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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;55(10):850-5.

Intake of sweet foods and counts of cariogenic microorganisms in obese and normal-weight women.

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  • 1Obesity Unit, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



To study the intake of sweet foods in obese and normal-weight women, while also taking menstrual cycle effects on eating behaviour into consideration. An objective test of the intake of sugar-containing foods was introduced by measuring salivary counts of mutans streptococci and lactobacilli.


A cross-sectional comparison of the intake of sweet foods in obese and normal-weight women. The obese women were also studied longitudinally after 10 weeks in a weight reduction programme.


Obese (n=72, body mass index (BMI) 42.0+/-5.2 kg/m2) and normal-weight women (n=67, BMI 22.2+/-1.6 kg/m2) participated.


Mutans streptococci in saliva were higher in obese than in normal-weight women (P<0.0001), although the reported habitual daily intake of sweet foods did not differ. Of the menstruating women, 80% of the obese subjects and 62% of the normal-weight ones (P<0.05) reported periods during the menstrual cycle with an 'extra large' intake of sweet foods; these intakes were higher in obese than in normal-weight women (P<0.01). The obese women reduced their intake of sweet foods after 10 weeks of weight reduction, although these changes were not pronounced enough to significantly affect the counts of cariogenic microorganisms.


In contrast to most previous cross-sectional studies, this study shows that obese women have a higher intake of sweet foods, especially pre-menstrually. This was indicated by higher salivary counts of cariogenic microorganisms.


Karolinska Institute Research Funds.

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