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Reformulation of sugar contents in Canadian prepackaged foods and beverages between 2013 and 2017 and resultant changes in nutritional composition of products with sugar reductions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2020

Jodi T Bernstein
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
Anthea K Christoforou
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
Madyson Weippert
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
Mary R L’Abbé
Affiliation:
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objective:

To quantify total sugar reformulation in Canadian prepackaged foods and beverages between 2013 and 2017 and identify changes in the nutritional composition of the foods and beverages reformulated to be lower in total sugar.

Design:

Longitudinal examination of foods and beverages present in both 2013 and 2017 collections of the University of Toronto’s Food Label Information Program database (n 6628 matched products). The proportion of products with changes in sugar levels was determined. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to examine changes in sugar levels overall for products lower or higher in sugar and changes in nutrient composition for products lower in sugar.

Setting:

Largest grocery retailers by market share in Canada.

Participants:

Canadian prepackaged foods and beverages.

Results:

The majority (76·6 %) of products had no change in total sugar content, 12·4 % were reformulated to be lower in sugar and 11·0 % were higher in sugar. A median sugar reduction of 19·0 % (1·6 g) was seen among products lower in sugar which was offset by a median 18·0 % (1·5 g) increase among products higher in sugar. Overall, median levels of energies and other nutrients stayed the same or decreased among products reformulated to be lower in sugar, the exception was for starch, which increased.

Conclusions:

Limited progress was made to reformulate foods and beverages to be lower in total sugar between 2013 and 2017. Results from this study identify areas in the food supply where attention may be needed to avoid unintended consequences of sugar-focused reformulation in terms of overall nutritional composition.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Authors 2020

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Bernstein et al. supplementary material

Bernstein et al. supplementary material

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