Critics of sugar-containing foods claim that high sugar diets contain inadequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. This is sometimes called a ‘nutrient dilution’ effect. However, a new review has questioned whether there is enough evidence to say this.
Researchers from the University of Ulster searched for high quality studies, published since 1980, that correlated added sugar and nutrient intakes. The aim was to evaluate whether high added-sugar intakes predicted lower vitamin and mineral intakes and, if so, whether there was enough evidence to support a threshold effect above which vitamin and mineral intakes started to decline.
Only 15 studies were found that met the inclusion criteria. The results of these contained so many inconsistencies that it was impossible to establish a clear relationship between added sugars and nutrient intakes. In addition, there was insufficient evidence to be able to pinpoint a threshold above which added sugar intakes caused nutrient dilution.
The researchers commented that: "Further research is required to determine which food products high in added sugars might adversely affect micronutrient intakes by displacing other food items from the diet".
For more information, see
Rennie KL & Livingstone BE (2007). Associations between dietary added sugar intake and micronutrient intake: a systematic review. British Journal of Nutrition Vol 97, issue 5: pg 832-841.
EUFIC related materialNutrition – Sugar