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March 2, 2002 - Carbohydrate Nutrition News

Dietary sugars and micronutrient intake in normal adults aged 65 years and over


Gibson S.

Public Health Nutrition, December 2001; 4(6): 1235-1244.

Objective: To examine the relationship between non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) concentration and micronutrient intakes and status in free-living older people.

Design: The National Diet and Nutrition Survey of people aged 65 years and over; a cross-sectional study in Britain in 1994/5.

Subjects and Methods: Eight hundred and six men and women living in private households who were not on medication for nutritional disorders. Subjects were classified into four groups (Q1 to Q4), using cut-off points corresponding to quartiles of energy from NMES. Relationships were examined between dietary NMES concentration and intakes of calcium, iron, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C and vitamin D. Status indices were also assessed in each group.

Results: Overall, a small proportion of men and women had intakes below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI) for calcium, iron, folate, riboflavin or vitamin C, while vitamin D intakes were universally low. Intakes of micronutrients tended to be highest at moderate levels of NMES in the diet (Q2 and Q3, equivalent to 8–15% of energy from NMES). Micronutrient status was low for riboflavin in 38% of the sample, while 15% had low vitamin C status and more than 10% were anaemic. There was little evidence that poorer nutrient status was associated with higher levels of dietary NMES. Although some indices of folate status were lower in Q4, this is most likely to reflect confounding by smoking. Energy intake accounted for 20–40% of the variance in micronutrient intakes, compared with less than 5% for NMES concentration.

Conclusions: A diet moderately high in NMES (up to around 15% of energy) is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on micronutrient intake or status in this age group. Energy intake is the major determinant of micronutrient adequacy.

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