Added Sugars, Nutrient Intakes, and Grain-Based Foods
J. M. Jones. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 55(5):226-230.
Authoritative bodies worldwide recommend limiting added sugars intake, with the U.S. 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report being the most recent body to do so. These recommendations are based on the concern that added sugars supply excess calories while displacing needed nutrients. A review by Marriott and colleagues addressed the latter issue by assessing the impact of added sugars on nutrient and dietary fiber intakes using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006 database of food intake of 15,189 Americans over 4 years old. The main finding of the analysis is that the overall micronutrient and dietary fiber intakes in the U.S. population are poor and show a decrease with each 5% of E increase in added sugars. Thirty percent of added sugars intake comes from calorically sweetened beverages with an additional 10% from fruitades and fruit drinks; grain-based foods contribute 20% of added sugars intake. The DGAC expressed special concern for the group of foods within the grains category labeled as sweetened-grain foods, such as cookies, pastries, and cakes, as they contribute to extra calories in the form of solid fat and added sugars (SoFAS). Therefore, the DGAC calls for limiting intake of these foods. Cereal chemists are actively trying to reformulate foods to help consumers meet current dietary guidance. This is no easy task since sugars are not only critical for flavor but also have many functional roles. The removal of added sugars requires replacement with other ingredients. Unless water (not a likely candidate in a number of grain-based food products) or dietary fibers (which yield few calories) can be used for the replacement, calorie levels of the reformulated product will not be lower than the existing product. Thus, the reformulated product may do little to address excess calorie intake. Further, a drastic reduction in added sugars for certain under-consumed, nutrient-rich foods, such as whole grain or high fiber (bran) cereals and snacks, could have the unintended consequence of decreasing intake of such foods and further decrease intake of shortfall nutrients.