A systematic methodology to estimate added sugar content of foods
Background/objectives: The effect of added sugar on health is a topical area of research. However, there is currently no analytical or other method to easily distinguish between added sugars and naturally occurring sugars in foods. This study aimed to develop a systematic methodology to estimate added sugar values on the basis of analytical data and ingredients of foods. Subjects/methods: A 10-step, stepwise protocol was developed, starting with objective measures (six steps) and followed by more subjective estimation (four steps) if insufficient objective data are available. The method developed was applied to an Australian food composition database (AUSNUT2007) as an example. Results: Out of the 3874 foods available in AUSNUT2007, 2977 foods (77%) were assigned an estimated value on the basis of objective measures (steps 1-6), and 897 (23%) were assigned a subjectively estimated value (steps 7-10). Repeatability analysis showed good repeatability for estimated values in this method. Conclusions: We propose that this method can be considered as a standardised approach for the estimation of added sugar content of foods to improve cross-study comparison.