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Added sugar and sodium levels in New Zealand processed fruit and vegetable-based products.

AIM: Fruit and vegetables are strongly promoted because of the nutrients they provide; many processed products contain added sugar and sodium. The present study aims to quantify the sugar and sodium content of pre-packaged fruit and vegetable-based products that are available in New Zealand supermarkets. METHODS: Nutrition Information Panel data were collected from non-frozen, processed fruit and vegetable products in New Zealand supermarkets (including soups, sauces, jams and spreads, pickles, chutneys and dips, and canned/bottled fruit and vegetables) where fruit and/or vegetables were the majority ingredient(s). RESULTS: With the exception of canned/bottled vegetables, more than 60% of products contained added sugar. Per serve, the median sugar content was highest in canned/bottled fruit (17.8 g). More than 75% of soups, vegetable-based sauces, pickles/chutneys and canned/bottled vegetables contained added sodium, with soups (722 mg) recording the highest median values per serve. CONCLUSIONS: Consumers need to be aware that although they are encouraged to eat a diet high in fruit and vegetables, there may be large quantities of added sugar and sodium in manufactured fruit and vegetable products that can have significant negative impacts on their health. Government health promotion campaigns encouraging the consumption of fruit and vegetables should be careful to target fresh, frozen and home-prepared foods, and work on educating the public about the lower nutritional quality associated with most processed fruit and vegetable products.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Chepulis, L. M., Everson, N., Heapy, A., & Mearns, G. (2019). Added sugar and sodium levels in New Zealand processed fruit and vegetable-based products. Nutrition & Dietetics, 76(1), 67–74. https://doi.org/10.1111/1747-0080.12470
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Nutrition & Dietetics. © 2018 Dietitians Association of Australia.