Antioxidant vitamin adequacy in relation to consumption of sugars

C. Bolton-Smith, M. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the prevalence of antioxidant vitamin inadequacy and low fibre intakes according to total, intrinsic, extrinsic and milk-sugar consumption groups. Design: Age- and sex-stratified cross-sectional study of coronary risk factors and diet. Based on a personal health and food frequency questionnaire with a clinic attendance for body measurements. Setting: Ten general practitioners' surgeries from each of 22 Scottish districts (12 Mainland Health Boards) surveyed during 1984-1986. Subjects: 11 626 men and women aged 25-64 years who participated in the baseline Scottish Heart Health (SHHS) and MONICA studies. Overall response rate was 69% after one reminder letter. Main outcome measures: Both the mean daily intakes of fibre and vitamins A (retinol and carotenes), C and E, and the percentage of each sex group who fall below the dietary reference values for each nutrient are reported according to fifths of dietary sugars. The percentage of the population variation in vitamin and fibre intake which can be explained by consumption of the different sugars is provided from multiple analysis of variance techniques. Results: Intrinsic sugar intake is positively related to antioxidant vitamin and fibre intake (correlation coefficients, r, between 0.1 and 0.61 apart from retinol, r = -0.06), due to their mutual occurrence in fresh fruits and vegetables, while consumption of milk sugars tends to be weekly inversely related to antioxidant vitamin and fibre intake (apart from vitamin C, r = 0.02-0.06). Both low and high extrinsic sugar intake seems to be associated with poorer antioxidant vitamin and fibre-containing diets compared with a consumption of extrinsic sugar of between 6.5 and 15.6% energy for men and 4.8 and 11.6% energy for women. Intake of different sugar types is related to the antioxidant nutrient adequacy of a diet independent of age, smoking habit, total energy intake, alcohol consumption, weight and height. Fibre intake is below the recommended value at all levels of dietary sugars. Conclusions: Prevalence of antioxidant vitamin adequacy is significantly related to dietary sugar intake. However, relatively low extrinsic sugar consumption appears equally associated with a poor quality diet as does a relatively high intake. It may be concluded that the dietary reference values for sugars err on the cautious side, with respect to their effect on antioxidant nutrient adequacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Diet
  • Extrinsic sugar
  • Fibre
  • Food frequency questionnaire
  • Intrinsic sugar
  • Lactose
  • Reference nutrient intakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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