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Article

The Use of Non-Nutritive and Low-Calorie Sweeteners in 19,915 Local and Imported Pre-Packaged Foods in Hong Kong

1
School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
2
Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia
3
Department of Nutrition, Gillings Global School of Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kimber L. Stanhope
Nutrients 2021, 13(6), 1861; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061861
Received: 20 April 2021 / Revised: 24 May 2021 / Accepted: 26 May 2021 / Published: 29 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition and Public Health)
This study aims to examine the use of non-nutritive (NNSs) and low-calorie sweeteners (LCSs) in pre-packaged foods in Hong Kong and the differences in the number of NNSs/LCSs used between products from different regions. In a cross-sectional audit, the types of NNSs/LCSs used in 19,915 pre-packaged foods in Hong Kong were examined by searching the ingredients list of the included products for keywords related to 20 common NNSs/LCSs and their respective E-numbers. Prevalence of use of NNSs and LCSs, the co-presence of NNSs/LCSs and free sugar ingredients (FSI), and the number of NNSs/LCSs used in the included foods were computed. Pearson’s χ2 test was used to compare the total number of NNSs and/or LCSs used in food items from different regions. Sucralose (E955) was the most commonly used NNS (1.9%), followed by acesulfame K (E950, 1.6%). Sorbitol was the most commonly used LCS (2.9%). Overall, the use of LCSs was less common compared with NNSs (3.7% vs. 4.5%). The use of different types of NNSs varied substantially between food types. Notably, 20.2% of potato crisps and 15.2% of other crisps or extruded snacks contained at least one NNS and/or LCS. Co-presence of FSIs and NNSs/LCSs were most common in confectionery (15.7%) and snack foods (15.5%). Asian prepackaged foods were more likely to contain NNSs/LCSs (10.1%) compared with those from other regions. To conclude, NNSs/LCSs were used in a wide range of non-diet pre-packaged products which could be a public health concern due to their higher consumption frequencies than “diet” products. View Full-Text
Keywords: non-nutritive sweeteners; low-calorie sweeteners; intense sweeteners; sugar substitutes; pre-packaged foods; Hong Kong non-nutritive sweeteners; low-calorie sweeteners; intense sweeteners; sugar substitutes; pre-packaged foods; Hong Kong
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MDPI and ACS Style

O, B.Y.S.; Coyle, D.H.; Dunford, E.K.; Wu, J.H.Y.; Louie, J.C.Y. The Use of Non-Nutritive and Low-Calorie Sweeteners in 19,915 Local and Imported Pre-Packaged Foods in Hong Kong. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061861

AMA Style

O BYS, Coyle DH, Dunford EK, Wu JHY, Louie JCY. The Use of Non-Nutritive and Low-Calorie Sweeteners in 19,915 Local and Imported Pre-Packaged Foods in Hong Kong. Nutrients. 2021; 13(6):1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061861

Chicago/Turabian Style

O, Billy Yin Sing, Daisy H. Coyle, Elizabeth K. Dunford, Jason H. Y. Wu, and Jimmy Chun Yu Louie. 2021. "The Use of Non-Nutritive and Low-Calorie Sweeteners in 19,915 Local and Imported Pre-Packaged Foods in Hong Kong" Nutrients 13, no. 6: 1861. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061861

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