The consumption of added sugars (e.g., white sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup) displaces nutrient-dense foods in the diet. The intake of added sugars in the United States (US) is excessive. Little is known about the predictors of added sugars intake.
To examine the independent relationships of socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity with added sugars intake, and to evaluate the consistency of relationships using a short instrument to those from a different survey using more precise dietary assessment.
Cross-sectional, nationally representative, interviewer-administered survey
Adults (≥18 years) participating in the 2005 US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement responding to 4 added sugars questions (n=28,948)
Statistical analyses performed
The intake of added sugars was estimated using validated scoring algorithms. Multivariate analysis incorporating sample weights and design effects was conducted. Least squares means and confidence intervals, and significance tests using Wald F statistics are presented. Analyses were stratified by gender and controlled for potential confounders.
The intake of added sugars was higher among males than females and inversely related to age, educational status, and family income. Asian-Americans had the lowest intake and Hispanics the next lowest intake. Among men, blacks had the highest intake, although whites and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/ANs) also had high intakes. Among women, blacks and AI/ANs had the highest intakes. Intake of added sugars was inversely related to educational attainment in whites, blacks, Hispanic men, and AI/AN men, but was unrelated in Asian-Americans. These findings were generally consistent with relationships in NHANES 2003–04 (using one or two 24-hour dietary recalls).
Race/ethnicity, family income and educational status are independently associated with intake of added sugars. Groups with low income and education are particularly vulnerable to diets with high added sugars. Differences among race/ethnicity groups suggest that interventions to reduce intake of added sugars should be tailored. The NHIS added sugars questions with accompanying scoring algorithms appear to provide an affordable and useful means of assessing relationships between various factors and added sugars intake.