1Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, United States, 2Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Santiago, Chile, 3Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, United States.
Background and objective. The first phase of Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising has shown declines in the sugar content of foods. It is unknown if the law led to increases in nonnutritive sweetener (NNS) intake, especially among preschoolers. NNS intake is discouraged in children because they can surpass the acceptable daily intake (ADI). Our objective was to estimate the usual intake of NNS and the percentage of children who surpass the ADI in pre-and post-law periods.
Methods. We used 24-hour dietary recalls collected in 2016 (pre-law) and 2017 (post-law) from a preschooler’s cohort from Santiago, Chile (n=875). We obtained NNS content declared in packaged foods from nutrition facts panels (NFP) collected in 2016 and 2017 and used the NFP data to develop yearly updated food composition tables that were linked to dietary data. We used the National Cancer Institute Method to estimate the mean usual intake and its distribution. We determined if children surpassed the ADI using as cut-points >15 mg/kg/day for acesulfame K and sucralose, >40 mg/kg/day for aspartame, and >4 mg/kg/day for stevia.
Results. The mean intake of aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose increased, while stevia’s decreased in 2017. We observed a right shift in the distribution of the dietary intake of aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose in 2017. None of the children who consumed NNS surpassed the ADI cut points in 2016 or 2017.
Conclusion. Chilean preschoolers were not surpassing the ADI of any NNS in 2016 or 2017, but there was an increase in the mean intake and right-shift in the distribution of the intake three NNS. Future research should evaluate what happened after the implementation of the following stages of the law.
Keywords: preschoolers, nonnutritive sweeteners.