Intake of added sugars and selected nutrients in the United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Mar;50(3):228-58. doi: 10.1080/10408391003626223.


In the Institute of Medicine (IOM) macronutrient report the Committee recommended a maximal intake of < or = 25% of energy from added sugars. The primary objectives of this study were to utilize National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to update the reference table data on intake of added sugars from the IOM report and compute food sources of added sugars. We combined data from NHANES with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPyramid Equivalents Database (MPED) and calculated individual added sugars intake as percent of total energy then classified individuals into 8 added sugars percent energy categories, calculated usual intake with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) method, and compared intakes to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Nutrients at most risk for inadequacy based on the Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) were vitamins E, A, C, and magnesium. Nutrient intake was less with each 5% increase in added sugars intake above 5-10%. Thirteen percent of the population had added sugars intake > 25%. The mean g-eq added sugars intake of 83.1 g-eq/day and added sugars food sources were comparable to the mid-1990s. Higher added sugars intakes were associated with higher proportions of individuals with nutrient intakes below the EAR, but the overall high calorie and the low quality of the U.S. diet remained the predominant issue. With over 80% of the population at risk for select nutrient inadequacy, guidance may need to focus on targeted healthful diet communication to reach the highest risk demographic groups for specific life stage nutrient inadequacies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Micronutrients