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May 27, 2024 - Carbohydrate Nutrition News

Added Sugars and Diet Quality: Research Poster Presentation

CSI’s Manager of Nutrition & Scientific Affairs, Dr. Flora Wang, Flora Wang standing in front of research posterpresented a research poster at this year’s Canadian Nutrition Society conference in Edmonton, AB (May 2-4). The poster showcased findings on whether there is an association between intakes of added sugars in Canada and Healthy Eating Food Index (HEFI)-2019 scores, as an indicator of diet quality

Why was this research conducted? 

There is continuing debate regarding the association between added sugars intake and overall diet quality. One of the measures of diet quality is to score dietary patterns based on how closely they are aligned with national dietary guidelines. HEFI-2019 assess the extent to which Canadians’ eating habits align with the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide recommendations on healthy food choices. This is the first study on this topic in the Canadian population

What are the key findings?  
  • There were large variations in HEFI-2019 scores amongst individuals with similar added sugars intakes. 
  • There was an inverse association between added sugars and HEFI-2019 scores – the association was non-linear, with the greatest reductions in HEFI-2019 scores for individuals at the highest added sugars intakes (i.e., > 15% added sugars).
  • Within each added sugar intake category, mean HEFI-2019 scores tended to be lower among adolescents (indicating poorer diet quality) and higher among older adults (indicating better diet quality). 
What are the key takeaways from this research? 

These findings suggest that added sugars alone is not a good indicator of overall diet quality. There may be greater benefits of reducing added sugars for individuals at higher intake levels (greater than 15% energy). However, the overall nutrient composition and food matrix should also be considered when adjusting dietary choices to reduce added sugars intake.  

For more information:

Upcoming Poster Presentations: 

Dr. Tamara Cohen (Director of Dietetics, University of British Columbia) is presenting a research poster at the 2024 International Congress for Nutrition and Dietetics in Toronto, ON (June 12-14) which profiles a new checklist tool that can be used to enhance the suitability and acceptability of nutrition education resources for registered dietitians. This research was part of a Mintel Accelerate Project with the Canadian Sugar Institute as the industry partner.     


Want to stay up to date on the latest research publications related to sugars? 

CSI circulates a monthly summary of new research published on sugars, nutrition, and health. The summary is based on a PubMed search using pre-established search terms, and publications are grouped by relevant topic areas and according to the hierarchy of medical evidence.

Click for more information and to sign-up.