Comparison and validation of 2 analytical methods for measurement of urinary sucrose and fructose excretion

Nutr Res. 2013 Sep;33(9):696-703. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2013.05.017. Epub 2013 Jul 3.


Urinary sugars excretion has been proposed as a potential biomarker for intake of sugars. In this study, we compared 2 analytical methods (gas chromatography [GC] and enzymatic reactions-UV absorption) for quantifying urinary fructose and sucrose using 24-hour urine samples from a randomized crossover controlled feeding study. All samples were successfully quantified by the GC method; however, 21% and 1.9% of samples were below the detection limit of the enzymatic method for sucrose and fructose, respectively. Although the correlation between the 2 methods was good for fructose (Pearson correlation, 0.71), the correlation was weak for sucrose (Pearson correlation, 0.27). We favor the GC method because of its better sensitivity, simplicity, and the ability to quantify fructose and sucrose directly in the same run. Of the 106 samples from 53 participants with complete urine collection after 2 study diets, 24-hour urinary fructose excretion was significantly associated with fructose intake. The sum of 24-hour urinary fructose and sucrose was significantly associated with total sugars consumption. However, variation in intakes of sugars explained only a modest amount of variation in urinary sugars excretion. In the unadjusted models, fructose intake explained 24.3% of urinary fructose excretion, and intake of total sugars explained 16.3% of the sum of urinary fructose and sucrose. The adjusted models explained 44.3% of urinary fructose excretion and 41.7% of the sum of urinary fructose and sucrose. Therefore, we caution using these biomarkers to predict sugars consumption before other factors that determine urinary sugars excretion are understood.

Keywords: BMI; Biomarker; CARB; CI; CV; Carbohydrates and Related Biomarkers; DEXA; Diet; Dietary sucrose; FFQ; FHCRC; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Fructose/urine; GC; GL; Gas chromatography; Human; LOQ; ME; Sucrose/urine; body mass index; coefficient of variation; confidence interval; dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; food frequency questionnaires; gas chromatography; glycemic load; limit of quantification; measurement error.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chromatography, Gas / methods*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fructose / urine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet / methods*
  • Sucrose / urine*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose