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Ultra-processed food consumption drives excessive free sugar intake among all age groups in Australia

  • Priscila Pereira Machado
  • Eurídice Martinez Steele
  • Maria Laura da Costa Louzada
  • Renata Bertazzi Levy
  • Anna Rangan
  • Julie Woods
  • Timothy Gill
  • Gyorgy Scrinis
  • Carlos Augusto MonteiroEmail author
Original Contribution

Abstract

Objective

To analyze the contribution of ultra-processed foods to the intake of free sugars among different age groups in Australia.

Methods

Dietary intakes of 12,153 participants from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (2011–12) aged 2+ years were evaluated. Food items collected through two 24-h recalls were classified according to the NOVA system. The contribution of each NOVA food group and their subgroups to total energy intake was determined by age group. Mean free sugar content in diet fractions made up exclusively of ultra-processed foods, or of processed foods, or of a combination of un/minimally processed foods and culinary ingredients (which includes table sugar and honey) were compared. Across quintiles of the energy contribution of ultra-processed foods, differences in the intake of free sugars, as well as in the prevalence of excessive free sugar intake (≥ 10% of total energy) were examined.

Results

Ultra-processed foods had the highest energy contribution among children, adolescents and adults in Australia, with older children and adolescents the highest consumers (53.1% and 54.3% of total energy, respectively). The diet fraction restricted to ultra-processed items contained significantly more free sugars than the two other diet fractions. Among all age groups, a positive and statistically significant linear association was found between quintiles of ultra-processed food consumption and both the average intake of free sugars and the prevalence of excessive free sugar intake.

Conclusion

Ultra-processed food consumption drives excessive free sugar intake among all age groups in Australia.

Keywords

Food processing Ultra-processed food Free sugar Diet quality Australia 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2019_2125_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Nutrição em Saúde Pública, Faculdade de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and HealthUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Políticas Públicas e Saúde ColetivaUniversidade Federal de São PauloSantosBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Medicina Preventiva, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  5. 5.School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Charles Perkins CentreThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  6. 6.Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  7. 7.Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, Charles Perkins CentreThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  8. 8.School of Agriculture and FoodThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  9. 9.Departamento de Nutrição, Faculdade de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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