The trend of added sugar (AS) intake has not been investigated in the Australian population, including in older adults. The present study aimed to assess trends and food sources of AS intake among a cohort of older Australians during 15 years of follow-up.
Dietary data from participants of the Blue Mountains Eye Study (1264 men and 1614 women), aged ≥49 years at baseline, were collected. Dietary intakes were assessed at 5-yearly intervals (1992–94 to 2007–09) using a 145-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). AS content of FFQ food items was estimated using a stepwise systematic method. Trends for AS intake between baseline and the three follow-up periods were assessed using linear mixed modelling.
In men, the mean (SEM) percentage of energy provided by AS intake (EAS%) declined from 10.4% (0.1%) at baseline to 9.4% (0.2%) at 15-year follow-up (Ptrend = 0.028). Women's mean (SEM) EAS% intake at baseline and 15-year follow-up was 9.2% (0.1%) and 8.8% (0.2%), respectively (Ptrend = 0.550). EAS% intake of men was significantly higher than that of women for 10 years (P < 0.05). Sugar products (table sugar, syrup, jam and honey) were the major sources of AS at all-time points and contributed to more than 40% and 35% of AS intake in men and women, respectively. Intake of sugar products decreased in men during follow-up (Ptrend < 0.001).
An overall downward trend was observed in AS intake in both genders, however, was only significant for men during 15 years of follow-up. Table sugar and sugar-containing spreads represent the major source of AS in this cohort of older Australians.