Use of 'light' foods and drinks in French adults: biological, anthropometric and nutritional correlates

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2001 Jun;14(3):191-206. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-277x.2001.00289.x.


Background: A population of over 12,000 mature subjects participated in a longitudinal study (8 years) of nutrition and health (the Su.Vi.Max Study). In this context, a specific cross-sectional study was carried out in a randomly selected subpopulation.

Aim: To identify anthropometric, nutritional and biochemical correlates of spontaneous use of 'light' foods and drinks in a free-living population.

Design: Men (n = 2299) and women (n = 1979), 45-60 years, reported their food intakes over six non-consecutive days. Consumers of low-fat and low-sugar foods and drinks, and artificial sweeteners, were compared with non-consumers.

Results: Users of low-sugar products were heavier than non-users; female consumers of low-fat products, but not males, had higher body weight and BMI than non-consumers. Users of low-sugar products had higher triacylglycerols and glycaemia than non-users while biochemical parameters were not different in users and non-users of low-fat products. Use of low-sugar products led to increased diet density of a few micronutrients, including cholesterol. Low-fat product selection was associated with increased intake of most micronutrients, both in absolute value and in density.

Conclusions: In mature adults, selection of fat-reduced products was associated with improved quality of the diet, while anthropometric and biological parameters appeared less favourable in consumers of low-sugar products vs. non-consumers. The longitudinal follow-up of the cohort in future years will help determine cause-and-effect relationships among these parameters.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • France
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents