Objective: To identify food sources of added sweeteners in the US diet.
Design: A descriptive study using data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. Each subject provided one 24-hour dietary recall. Intake of added sweeteners was calculated using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid servings database.
Subjects/setting: A national sample of noninstitutionalized persons aged 2 years and older (N = 15,010).
Statistical analyses: Mean intakes of added sweeteners from all food sources and from specific food categories; percentage contribution of added sweeteners to total energy intake; and percentage contribution of each food category to total intake of added sweeteners. All analyses were conducted for the total sample and for 12 age-gender groups.
Results: During 1994 to 1996, Americans aged 2 years and older consumed the equivalent of 82 g carbohydrate per day from added sweeteners, which accounted for 16% of total energy intake. In absolute terms, adolescent males consumed the most; as a percentage of energy, male and female adolescents had the highest intakes (averaging 20% of total energy from added sweeteners). The largest source of added sweeteners was regular soft drinks, which accounted for one third of intake. Other sources were table sugars, syrups, and sweets; sweetened grains; regular fruitades/drinks; and milk products.
Applications/conclusions: Intakes of added sweeteners exceed levels compatible with meeting current dietary recommendations. Knowing food sources of added sweeteners for the overall population and for specific age-gender groups can help dietitians provide appropriate nutrition education.