Trends in food sources of added sugar in Australian eating patterns between 1995 and 2012 using national consumption survey data

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Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics


Background: When aiming to develop dietary messaging to achieve reductions in added sugar intakes, it is necessary to identify key food contributors. Food contributors are not expected to remain static over time. Therefore, the present study aimed to compare the total added sugars (AS) intake and related food sources for adult respondents of two Australian national consumption surveys. Methods: Repeated 24-h recall data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey (1995NNS, n = 10 851) and the 2011–12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (2012NNPAS, n = 9341) was used to estimate AS consumption. Food group sources of AS were examined per consumer and per capita and the food group predictors of energy provided by AS were determined. Results: A significant difference in total AS intake was identified by age and gender between the surveys (all P < 0.001). Increased variability in food group contributions per consumer was also identified. Nine of the top 20 food groups from the 1995NNS differed (P < 0.001) in their contribution to AS in 2012NNPAS per consumer. Fewer changes were apparent at the population level, with >40% AS coming from only three food groups. Age-stratified analyses showed that the ‘sugar, honeys and syrups’ and the ‘sweetened beverages’ food groups were the top contributors between the surveys up to the age group of 70 years. ‘Sugar, honey and syrups’, ‘chocolate and chocolate-based confectionery,’ and ‘other confectionery’ (all, P < 0.001) were significant predictors of AS intake (1995NNS, r = 0.755; 2012NNPAS r = 0.740). Conclusions: At a population level, food group contributions to AS intakes for Australian adults have not changed substantially over time, yet notable shifts in AS can be seen when targeting only the consumers of these food sources. ‘Cake type desserts’ appear to be increasingly consumed though ‘sweetened beverages’ remain a major contributor to AS intakes warranting targeted public health strategies. 2 2

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