Evidence Map on the Relationship Between Exposure to Dietary Sweetness and Body Weight-Related Outcomes in Adults

Dietary recommendations from numerous governmental and health organizations recommend reduced intake of added sugars due to the health risks, including the risk of overweight and obesity. Some recommendations include avoiding dietary sweetness - regardless of the source - based on the hypothesis that reduced exposure to dietary sweetness will reduce the preference and desire for sweet foods/beverages.  Given the limited or lack of association between dietary sweetness and food choice, it is unclear whether reducing dietary sweetness would result in beneficial changes in body composition. Before a conclusion on the association between dietary sweetness and body weight can be determined, it is necessary to determine the availability of evidence in the published literature. This evidence map will be conducted to characterize the evidence on the association between dietary sweetness and body weight-related outcomes. The objective of this work is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to conduct a systematic evidence review and identify future research priorities.

Institution: USDA Agricultural Research Service
Principal Investigators: Kelly Higgins, PhD; David Baer, PhD
Award Amount: $8K (Dr. Katherine Appleton, Bournemouth University); other costs covered by USDA’s congressional appropriation
Year Awarded: 2021

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework here.

This work is supported by the IAFNS Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners Committee and Carbohydrates Committee.

Standardizing Method and Development of Normal Values to Measure Human Small Intestinal and Colonic Permeability

Maintaining—or restoring to normal—gut barrier function is not currently recognized as a physiologic benefit of fiber consumption, in part due to lack of agreement by experts in the field on how to define and measure normal gut barrier function in human nutrition research. An IAFNS sponsored expert panel published an article in 2019 summarizing the foundational science related to normal gut structure and function as well as how to measure it. The panel’s recommended next step is to standardize a method for measuring gut permeability in human subjects and apply the method to initiate the process of quantifying the range of distribution in the general healthy public. The objective is to assess whether variation in the range of fiber representing typical to recommended intakes in the American diet is a critical factor in establishing this standardized method.

Institution: Mayo Clinic
Principal Investigator: Michael Camilleri
Amount: $249,762
Date: 2019

Read more: Development and Validation of Test for ‘Leaky Gut’ Small Intestinal and Colonic Permeability Using Sugars in Healthy Adults

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

This project is supported by the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.

Metabolic and Physiological Properties of Rare Sugars Review Paper

Rare sugars are monosaccharides or disaccharides that exist in small quantities in nature and have unique metabolic and physiological properties that help distinguish them from more commonly consumed sugars like fructose and glucose. Due to their unique properties, rare sugars offer potential health benefits as part of an overall healthy diet pattern, including slower intestinal absorption rate, lower caloric contribution, improved glycemic response, prebiotic function and lower risk of tooth decay. However, the scientific literature does not contain a publication that highlights potential physiological benefits and describes the unique properties of several rare sugars within a single document. The aim of this work is to develop a narrative overview summarizing the metabolic and physiological properties of uniquely metabolized sugars as compared to the primary monosaccharides and disaccharides in the diet.

Institution: Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis & Clinical Trials Foundation
Principal Investigator: John Sievenpiper, PhD
Year: 2019
Amount: $22,000

Read more: Rare Sugars and their Health Effects in Humans: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of the Evidence from Human Trials

View this project on the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework.

This project was supported by the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.

Global Comparison of How Short-Term Blood Glucose Response to Food is Measured and Translated

The wide range of methods used to describe the impact of food on short-term glycemic response makes it challenging to apply research results broadly, including but not limited to its use on food labels. The choice of approach should be informed by selecting a validated method that translates into a meaningful consumer and public health message. Informed decision-making, rather than historical use, can lead to increased global consistency in both choice of method and translation on labels. The aim of this project is to define short-term glycemic response, collect various measurement methods, and create tables that reflect those methods and possible messages.

Institution: Paula Trumbo, PhD
Principal Investigator: Paula Trumbo, PhD
Amount: $9,500
Year Awarded: 2019

Read more: Global Evaluation of the Use of Glycaemic Impact Measurements to Food or Nutrient Intake

This project is supported by the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.

The Scientific Basis of Guideline Recommendations on Sugar Intake

Several authoritative organizations have issued public health guidelines addressing dietary sugars. These organizations have conducted their own reviews of the available evidence, and have crafted different recommendations with regard to sugar consumption with various rationales for limiting intake. When respected organizations issue conflicting recommendations, it can result in confusion and raise concern about the quality of the guidelines and the underlying evidence. The aim of this study is to conduct a systematic survey and critical appraisal of authoritative public health guidelines, including an assessment of the quality of evidence supporting recommendations for dietary sugar intake.

Institution: University of Minnesota
Principal Investigator: Joann Slavin, PhD, RD
Amount Awarded: $48,000
Year Awarded: 2015

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Learn more about the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.

Development of a Fiber Database and Evidence Map

Thousands of studies have been completed on a wide range of fiber and fiber-rich foods examining a wide range of health outcomes. The aim of this project is to develop a comprehensive database of fibers to enable efficient conduct of systematic evidence reviews linking specific fibers and fiber sources with high potential human health outcomes.

Institution: Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA at Tufts University
Principal Investigator: Nicola McKeown, PhD
Amount Awarded: $89,072
Year Awarded: 2013

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Learn more about the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.

Future Research Needs Assessment for Fructose/Sugar and Health Outcomes

The aim of this project is to identify research gaps and prioritize research needs related to dietary sugars and potentially related health outcomes.

Institution: Tufts University
Principal Investigator: Mei Chung, PhD
Amount Awarded: $60,911
Year Awarded: 2013

Read more: Research needs and prioritizations for studies linking dietary sugars and potentially related health outcomes

Learn more about the IAFNS Carbohydrates Committee.