Is a diet that contains 5% energy from free sugars a realistic recommendation for the free living Scottish population?
(2016) Is a diet that contains 5% energy from free sugars a realistic recommendation for the free living Scottish population?, no. 32.
The consumption of free sugars has increased greatly over the years in Scotland and it continues to rise. High intakes of sugar have been associated with poor health outcomes such as tooth decay and obesity. Due to the populations' over consumption of free sugars the scientific advisory committee of nutrition was asked to clarify the relationship between sugar and health and in turn they established public health recommendations. This study aimed to discover whether this proposed reduction in free sugars to 5% energy is a realistic recommendation for the free living Scottish population. Additionally, investigation into how compliant the free-living Scottish population are in reducing free sugar intakes the barriers/facilitators that are involved that could prevent/promote adherence, and the attitudes and beliefs towards the dietary intervention. Methods 13 subjects were recruited to take part in the study. Participants were given two three-day diet diaries to complete. The first diary was completed whilst following a habitual dietary routine. Following this, the participants completed another diary, whilst actively attempting to reduce their free sugar intakes using dietary guidelines provided. On completion, each participant was asked to complete a questionnaire compiled of ten questions regarding attitudes, beliefs, towards the intervention and any barriers or facilitators that were faced. Dietary intakes at baseline and post dietary advice were then analysed to assess compliance, and the questionnaire was analyzed for frequencies. Results All 13 participants completed the intervention. The average intake in free sugars was significantly reduced (P=0.00) to 1.2% energy. Money and time did not present themselves as barriers for the participants. The majority of participants found it relatively easy to follow the provided advice, however the majority of them also did not wish to continue. 61.5% of the participants said they experienced side affects and 76.9% said they noticed a change in their mood during the intervention. Conclusion The study showed that the participants successfully followed the dietary guidelines provided, and were able to reduce their free sugar intake to below 5% energy. Although the population size was small, the results that were achieved suggest the proposed recommendation is achievable for the free Scottish population. Keywords: Sugar, obesity, dental caries, compliance, facilitators, barriers, 5%