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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Food Surveys Research Group » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335039

Research Project: What We Eat in America - Dietary Survey: Data Collection, Interpretation, Dissemination, and Methodology

Location: Food Surveys Research Group

Title: Added sugars: Definition and estimation in the USDA Food Patterns Equivalents Databases

Author
item Bowman, Shanthy

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/7/2017
Publication Date: 7/11/2017
Citation: Bowman, S.A. 2017. Added sugars: Definition and estimation in the USDA Food Patterns Equivalents Databases. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2017.07.013.

Interpretive Summary: Added sugars play an important role in the American diet. They are present in many beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, and fruit punch, and also in bakery products, dairy desserts, and candies, to name a few. Added sugars are defined as caloric sweeteners that are added to foods as ingredients during food preparation, at the table, or during food processing. Sugars naturally present in milk and fruit are not added sugars. Added sugars are measured in teaspoon equivalents. One teaspoon equivalent of added sugars is defined as 4.2 grams of total sugar, the amount of total sugar present in one teaspoon of granulated sugar. Sugars such as cane sugar, brown sugar, and confectioners’ sugar, syrups, honey, molasses, dextrose, fructose, maltose, and undiluted juice concentrated present in foods and beverages are examples of added sugars in the Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED). Examples of the amounts of added sugars present in 100 grams of foods and beverages are: granulated sugar 23.8; honey 19.6; fondant 21.2; soft drinks 2.1 to 2.5; cakes 5 to 9; and fruit nectars 2 to 3 teaspoon equivalents. On average, Americans, 2 years and over, consumed 18.4 teaspoon equivalents or 77.3 grams added sugars from foods and beverages, in a day, in the What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-12. Consumers can use FPED data to know the sources of added sugars in their diet and to limit intakes. Added sugars data can be used in nutrition education and for food policy purpose.

Technical Abstract: For the very first time, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020 made a quantitative recommendation that added sugars intake of individuals to not exceed 10 percent of total energy intake. The objective of this article is to define added sugars and to describe the methodology used to estimate added sugars present in the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS) foods and beverages. The Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) converts FNDDS foods and beverages to respective amounts of 37 USDA food patterns groups, of which added sugars is one. FNDDS SR Links files and food label information are used to identify and estimate amounts of added sugars in foods. Added sugars are defined as caloric sweeteners that are added to foods as ingredients during food preparation, at the table, or during food processing. Sugars naturally present in milk and fruit are not added sugars. Only the sugars obtained from ingredients defined as added sugars are placed in the added sugars group in FPED. Added sugars are measured in teaspoon equivalents. One teaspoon equivalent is defined as 4.2 grams of total sugar, the amount present in one teaspoon of granulated sugar. The FPEDs provide added sugars amounts per 100 grams of foods and beverages. The FPED plays a vital role in nutrition monitoring and evaluating the American diet with respect to the Dietary Guidelines recommendations. Added sugars data can be used in nutrition education and for food policy purpose.