Background: There is concern that added sugar may dilute micronutrients and displace nutrient dense foods from the diet.
Methods: The data for this analysis was based on the National Children’s Food Survey and National Teen Food Survey, which used 7-day food diaries to collect food and beverage intake data in representative samples of Irish children (5–12 years, n = 594) and teenagers (13–17 years, n = 441) respectively.
Results: High consumption of added sugars was associated with a decrease in the micronutrient density of the diet and increased prevalence of dietary inadequacies in children and teenagers. The decrease in micronutrient density was significant for several micronutrients, including magnesium (P < 0.001), calcium (P < 0.01 children; P < 0.001 teenagers), zinc (P < 0.05) and vitamins B12 (P < 0.01 children; P < 0.001 teenagers) and C (P < 0.05). There was wide variation in the micronutrients for which prevalence of dietary inadequacies increased depending on gender and population group.
Conclusions: Clinical data are required before conclusions can be made on whether micronutrient dilution is a concern in Ireland. A change in the consumption of several foods across level of added sugar intake may explain the decrease in the intake of several micronutrients and the decrease in the compliance with macronutrient recommendations in high consumers of added sugars in children and teenagers.