Dietary changes needed to achieve nutritional adequacy for 33 nutrients were determined for 1719 adults from a representative French national dietary survey. For each individual, an iso-energy nutritionally adequate diet was generated using diet modeling, staying as close as possible to the observed diet. The French food composition table was completed with free sugar (FS) content. Results were analyzed separately for individuals with FS intakes in their observed diets ≤10% or >10% of their energy intake (named below FS-ACCEPTABLE and FS-EXCESS, respectively). The FS-EXCESS group represented 41% of the total population (average energy intake of 14.2% from FS). Compared with FS-ACCEPTABLE individuals, FS-EXCESS individuals had diets of lower nutritional quality and consumed more energy (2192 vs. 2123 kcal/day), particularly during snacking occasions (258 vs. 131 kcal/day) (all p
-values < 0.01). In order to meet nutritional targets, for both FS-ACCEPTABLE and FS-EXCESS individuals, the main dietary changes in optimized diets were significant increases in fresh fruits, starchy foods, water, hot beverages and plain yogurts; and significant decreases in mixed dishes/sandwiches, meat/eggs/fish and cheese. For FS-EXCESS individuals only, the optimization process significantly increased vegetables and significantly decreased sugar-sweetened beverages, sweet products and fruit juices. The diets of French adults with excessive intakes of FS are of lower nutritional quality, but can be optimized via specific dietary changes.
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