Measurement error in self-reported sugars intake may explain the lack of consistency in the epidemiologic evidence on the association between sugars and disease risk. This review describes the development and applications of a biomarker of sugars intake, informs its future use and recommends directions for future research. Recently, 24 h urinary sucrose and fructose were suggested as a predictive biomarker for total sugars intake, based on findings from three highly controlled feeding studies conducted in the United Kingdom. From this work, a calibration equation for the biomarker that provides an unbiased measure of sugars intake was generated that has since been used in two US-based studies with free-living individuals to assess measurement error in dietary self-reports and to develop regression calibration equations that could be used in future diet-disease analyses. Further applications of the biomarker include its use as a surrogate measure of intake in diet-disease association studies. Although this biomarker has great potential and exhibits favorable characteristics, available data come from a few controlled studies with limited sample sizes conducted in the UK. Larger feeding studies conducted in different populations are needed to further explore biomarker characteristics and stability of its biases, compare its performance, and generate a unique, or population-specific biomarker calibration equations to be applied in future studies. A validated sugars biomarker is critical for informed interpretation of sugars-disease association studies.
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