4364.0.55.011 - Australian Health Survey: Consumption of added sugars, 2011-12  
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SOURCES OF FREE SUGARS

Just over half (52%) of all free sugars consumed were from beverages, led by soft drinks, sports and energy drinks (19%), fruit juice and fruit drinks (13%), with the sugar added to beverages such as tea and coffee contributing 7.3% and cordials 4.9%.

The overall contribution of beverages to free sugars consumption ranged from around 40% for young children and older adults to around 60% for 19-30 year olds. Fruit and vegetable juices were the leading contributor among 2-3 and 4-8 year olds (25% and 18% of all free sugars respectively), whereas soft drinks, sports and energy drinks were the leading source in 14-18 year olds (28%) and 19-30 year olds (27%). The relatively high proportion of free sugars from soft drinks, sports and energy drinks in the 14-18 years group was driven by the males who consumed 35% of their free sugars from these beverages compared with 19% for the females aged 14-18 years. Alcoholic beverages contributed 5.2% of the free sugars among the 19-30 years olds (mostly from pre-mixed drinks). In older age groups the contribution of beverages to free sugar declined mainly due to lower consumption of soft drinks, although higher proportions of free sugar came from the sugar added to beverages (mainly tea & coffee).

This graph shows the contribution of beverages to total free sugars consumed for persons aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
(a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
(b) Includes tea and coffee powders, beverage bases, and breakfast beverages. See Endnote 1 for details.
(c) See Endnote 2 for details.
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12


In terms of food sources of free sugars, the highest contributors were Cakes, muffins, scones and cake-type desserts (8.7%); Confectionery and cereal/nut/fruit/seed bars (8.7%) and Sugar products and dishes (excluding where added to a beverage) (7.6%). In contrast to the pattern from beverages, younger children and older adults consumed a higher proportion of their free sugars from foods, and together, these three non-beverage groups contributed around 30% of all free sugars for both the younger and older age groups. Sweet biscuits and frozen milk products each contributed 4% of all free sugars, and similarly with the leading food sources, they contributed relatively more to free sugars intakes for younger children and older adults than to the 14-50 year olds.


This graph shows the contribution of selected food groups to total free sugars consumed for persons aged 2 years and over. Data is based on Day 1 of 24 hour dietary recall from 2011-12 NNPAS.
(a) Based on Day 1. See Glossary for definition.
(b) Excluding sugar, honey and syrup added to beverages. See Endnote 2.
(c) Includes nut/seed/fruit bars
Source: National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2011-12


Given the types of food and beverage categories contributing to free sugars consumption, it is not surprising that discretionary foods3 accounted for the majority (81%) of free sugars. The leading foods contributing to the 19% of free sugars from non-discretionary food sources were fruit and vegetable juice which contributed 6.4%, breakfast cereals (2.5%), flavoured milks and milkshakes (2.3%) and yoghurt (1.8%).



ENDNOTES

1 The category 'flavoured milk drinks and beverage bases' was a grouping to capture the free sugars in the AUSNUT foods: Flavoured milk and milkshakes, Dairy milk substitutes, unflavoured, Dairy milk substitutes, flavoured, Other beverage flavourings and prepared beverages (includes products such as Milo, breakfast beverages), chai latte, bubble tea, tea mix powders, coffee mixes and coffees prepared from coffee mix, and coffees prepared with soy milk.

2 Sugar added to a beverage was measured by summing the free sugar within the AUSNUT major food group 'Sugar products and dishes' where those food records also had the 'beverage with additions' combination code. While this category includes toppings and jam spreads, over 98% of the free sugar with the 'beverage with additions' combination code was sugar. The balance of the free sugar in 'Sugar products and dishes' (i.e. the proportion not consumed in a beverage) was made up of: sugar (30%, with three quarters of that being added to cereal), jams (33%), water ice confection (13%) and sugar-based desserts (10%).

3 Foods categorised as discretionary were defined for the AHS using criteria-based decision rules (see AHS User's Guide for details) but are generally described as energy-dense and nutrient-poor and associated with being high in saturated fat, added salt, added sugars or alcohol.


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