Added sugar intake that exceeds current recommendations is associated with nutrient dilution in older Australians

Hanieh Moshtaghian, Jimmy Chun Yu Louie, Karen E. Charlton, Yasmine C. Probst, Bamini Gopinath, Paul Mitchell, Victoria M. Flood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives A nutrient dilution effect of diets high in added sugar has been reported in some older populations, but the evidence is inconsistent. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between added sugar intakes (according to recommended guidelines) and nutrient intake, food consumption, and body mass index (BMI). Methods A cross-sectional analysis of data collected between 2007 and 2009 from participants of the Blue Mountains Eye study 4 was performed (n = 879). Dietary intake was assessed using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Added sugar content of foods was determined by applying a systematic step-wise method. BMI was calculated from measured weight and height. Food and nutrient intakes and BMI were assessed according to categories of percentage energy from added sugar (EAS% < 5%, EAS% = 5%–10%, and EAS% >10%) using analysis of covariance for multivariate analysis. Results Micronutrient intake including retinol equivalents, vitamins B 6, B 12, C, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, iron, and magnesium showed a significant inverse association with EAS% intakes (P trend < 0.05). In people with the lowest intake of added sugars (<5% energy) intake of alcohol, fruits, and vegetables were higher and intake of sugar sweetened beverages was lower compared to other participants (all P trend < 0.001). BMI was similar between the three EAS% categories. Conclusions Energy intake from added sugar greater than the recommended level of 10% is associated with lower micronutrient intakes, indicating micronutrient dilution. Conversely, added sugar intakes <5% of energy intake are associated with higher micronutrient intakes. This information may inform dietary messages targeted at optimizing diet quality in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-942
Number of pages6
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • added sugar intake
  • energy from added sugar
  • nutrient dilution
  • Blue Mountains Eye Study
  • older adults


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