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Total and Free Sugar Content of Pre-Packaged Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages in Slovenia

Zupanič, Nina, Miklavec, Krista, Kušar, Anita, Žmitek, Katja, Fidler Mis, Nataša, Pravst, Igor
Nutrients 2018 v.10 no.2
adverse effects, chocolate, cross-sectional studies, data collection, dietary recommendations, honey, issues and policy, jellies, markets, monitoring, public health, sales, soft drinks, sugar content, sugars, sweets, syrups, Slovenia
Scientific evidence of the association between free sugar consumption and several adverse health effects has led many public health institutions to take measures to limit the intake of added or free sugar. Monitoring the efficiency of such policies and the amount of free sugar consumed requires precise knowledge of free sugar content in different food products. To meet this need, our cross-sectional study aimed at assessing free sugar content for 10,674 pre-packaged food items available from major Slovenian food stores during data collection in 2015. Together, 52.6% of all analyzed products contained free sugar, which accounted for an average of 57.5% of the total sugar content. Food categories with the highest median free sugar content were: honey and syrups (78.0 g/100 g), jellies (62.9 g/100 g), chocolate and sweets (44.6 g/100 g), jam and spreads (35.9 g/100 g), and cereal bars (23.8 g/100 g). Using year-round sales data provided by the retailers, the data showed that chocolate, sweets, and soft drinks alone accounted for more than 50% of all free sugar sold on the Slovenian market. The results of this study can be used to prepare more targeted interventions and efficient dietary recommendations.