Added Sugars and Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners in a Representative Sample of Food Products Consumed by the Spanish ANIBES Study Population (Part 5 of 5)

  1. Conclusions

Abstract: Low- and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS), intensely sweet compounds that virtually contain no calories, are used to replace added sugars in food and drinks. Knowledge about different LNCS data in Spanish foods and added sugar sources in Spain is limited, therefore our aim was to identify and compare their presence across main food groups consumed. Food and beverage products (n = 434) were obtained from the ANIBES Study (anthropometric data, macronutrients and micronutrients intake, practice of physical activity, socioeconomic data and lifestyles), a cross-sectional study of a representative sample of the Spanish population (9–75 years old; n = 2009) carried out in 2013. Food records were obtained from a three-day dietary record using a tablet device. Label data from 1,164 products of different brands were collected and reviewed for content of added sugars and LNCS. LNCS were present in diet soft drinks (100%), “other sweets” (89%), soya drinks (45%), and yogurt and fermented milks (18%). Added sugars were present mainly in sugar soft drinks (100%), energy drinks (96%), sports drinks (96%), bakery and pastry (100%), chocolates (100%), ice cream (100%), breakfast cereals/bars (96%) and jams (89%). Main LNCS were acesulfame K, aspartame, cyclamate and sucralose. Sucrose, dextrose, glucose-fructose syrup, caramel and honey were the main added sugars. Our results show the diversity of foods groups including these ingredients. These data are not compiled in food composition databases, which should be periodically updated to include LNCS and added sugars to facilitate their assessment and monitoring in nutritional surveys.

The present work shows that currently there is a widespread presence of LNCS and added sugars in many food and beverage groups commercialized in Spain. LNCS were present in diet soft drinks (100%), “other sweets” (89%), soya drinks (45%), and yogurt and fermented milks (18%). Added sugars were present in sugar soft drinks (100%), energy drinks (96%), sports drinks (96%), bakery and pastry (100%), chocolates (100%), ice cream (100%), breakfast cereals/bars (96%) and jams (89%). Main LNCS were acesulfame K, aspartame, cyclamate and sucralose. Sucrose, dextrose, glucose-fructose syrup, caramel and honey were the main added sugars.

It is relevant to identify LNCS in food and beverage products as the European regulation establishes that their consumption should be monitored and quantified in different population groups. Moreover, added sugars contents should be reduced to meet public health guidelines and key products that contain them could be monitored for reformulation as well. This is the first work conducted in Spain to identify, examine and describe the presence of added sugars and LNCS in main food groups consumed by a representative sample of our population. This information should be compiled in food composition databases to assess their consumption in nutritional surveys and monitor reformulation.

Supplementary Materials

The following are available online at, Table S1: Food group classification and included subgroups assessed in the ANIBES Study (Adapted from Pérez-Rodrigo et al. (1)).


Author Contributions

M.d.L.S.-V. and E.R. designed and wrote the manuscript. T.P. contributed to the design of the manuscript, and to the interpretation and discussion of the results. J.A.-B., A.G., M.G.-G., R.M.O. and L.S.-M. are members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the ANIBES study. These authors were responsible for the careful review of the study protocol, design and methodology; providing scientific advice to the study; and the interpretation of the results. They also critically reviewed the manuscript. G.V.-M., the Principal Investigator, was responsible for the design, protocol, methodology, and follow-up/checking of the study. G.V.-M. also revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.


This research was funded by a grant from Coca-Cola Iberia through an agreement with the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (Fundación Española de la Nutrición (FEN).



The authors would like to thank Coca-Cola Iberia and IPSOS for its support and technical advice, particularly Rafael Urrialde and Javier Ruiz.


 Conflicts of Interest

The study was financially supported by a grant from Coca-Cola Iberia through an agreement with the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (Fundación Española de la Nutrición (FEN)). The funding sponsor had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis nor interpretation of the data, the writing of the manuscript, nor in the decision to publish the results. The authors declare no conflict of interest.



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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

María de Lourdes Samaniego-Vaesken 1,†, Emma Ruiz 2,†, Teresa Partearroyo 1, Javier Aranceta-Bartrina 3,4,5, Ángel Gil 6,7, Marcela González-Gross 6,8, Rosa M. Ortega 9, Lluis Serra-Majem 4,6,10 and Gregorio Varela-Moreiras 1,2,* 

1 Department of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, CEU San Pablo University, 28668 Madrid, Spain

2 Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN), 28010 Madrid, Spain

3 Department of Food Sciences and Physiology, University of Navarra, Pamplona, 31009 Navarra, Spain

4 Research Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences (IUIBS), University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35016 Las Palmas, Spain

5 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 48940 Leioa, Vizcaya, Spain

6 CIBEROBN, Biomedical Research Networking Center for Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Carlos III Health Institute, 28029 Madrid, Spain

7 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Granada, 18010 Granada, Spain

8 ImFINE Research Group, Department of Health and Human Performance, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

9 Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Pharmacy, Madrid Complutense University, 28040 Madrid, Spain

10 Service of Preventive Medicine, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Insular Materno Infantil (CHUIMI), Canary Health Service, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35016 Las Palmas, Spain*

Correspondence:; Tel.: +34-91-372-47-26 or +34-91-447-07-59†

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018


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