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Income, Education Linked to Processed Sugar Intake

Study finds intake higher in racial and ethnic groups with lower income and education

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Intake of sugars added during processing, such as high-fructose corn syrup, is higher in men and in groups with low income and education levels, according to a study in the August issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Frances E. Thompson, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues surveyed 28,948 adults in the United States regarding their food intake and estimated their intake of added sugars (sugars and syrups that are added to foods during processing or preparation) such as white sugar, brown sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup.

The researchers found that the intake of added sugars was higher in men than women. Intake was lowest in older adults and in those with higher incomes and education. Intake also varied with race and ethnicity, with African-Americans having the highest intakes and Asian-Americans having the lowest intakes. Sugar intake was inversely associated with education level in all racial and ethnic groups except Asian-Americans, where there was no association.

"Differences among race/ethnicity groups suggest that interventions to reduce intake of added sugars should be tailored," Thompson and colleagues conclude. "The National Health Interview Survey added sugars questions with accompanying scoring algorithms appear to provide an affordable and useful means of assessing relationships between various factors and added sugars intakes."

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