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Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Apr;105(4):854-863. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.145318. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

Declining consumption of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia: a challenge for obesity prevention.

Author information

1
Charles Perkins Center and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; and jennie.brandmiller@sydney.edu.au.
2
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

Background: Reduced intakes of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have been the main focus of efforts to stall obesity. Although obesity has risen steeply in Australia, some evidence suggests that added-sugars and SSB intakes have declined over the same time frame.Objective: We investigated recent trends in the availability of sugars and sweeteners and changes in intakes of total sugars, added sugars, and SSBs in Australia by using multiple, independent data sources.Design: The study was designed to compare relevant data published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO Statistics Division Database (FAOSTAT)], the Australian government, academia, and the food industry.Results: With the use of the FAOSTAT food balance sheets for Australia, the per capita availability of added or refined sugars and sweeteners was shown to have fallen 16% from 152 g/d in 1980 to 127 g/d in 2011 (P-trend = 0.001). In national dietary surveys in 1995 and 2011-2012, added-sugars intake declined markedly in adult men (from 72 to 59 g/d; -18%) but not in women (44-42 g/d; NS). As a proportion of total energy, added-sugars intake fell 10% in adult men but nonsignificantly in adult women. Between 1995 and 2011-2012, the proportion of energy from SSBs (including 100% juice) declined 10% in adult men and 20% in women. More marked changes were observed in children aged 2-18 y. Data from national grocery sales indicated that per capita added-sugars intakes derived from carbonated soft drinks fell 26% between 1997 and 2011 (from 23 to 17 g/d) with similar trends for noncarbonated beverages.Conclusions: In Australia, 4 independent data sets confirmed shorter- and longer-term declines in the availability and intake of added sugars, including those contributed by SSBs. The findings challenge the widespread belief that energy from added sugars or sugars in solution are uniquely linked to the prevalence of obesity.

KEYWORDS:

Australia; added sugars; food availability; obesity; sugar-sweetened beverages

PMID:
28275129
DOI:
10.3945/ajcn.116.145318
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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