Trends in dietary carbohydrate quality during puberty from 1988 to 2007: a cause for concern?
ABSTRACT The extent to which the quality of dietary carbohydrates (CHO) changes throughout puberty is not known. We analysed trends in the quantity and quality of CHO intake among German adolescents by separately examining trends during puberty (pubertal trends) and trends in CHO intake from 1988 to 2007 (secular trends). Linear mixed-effects regression analyses were performed in 216 participants of the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed Study who had provided weighed 3 d dietary records at the onset of the pubertal growth spurt (defined by age at take-off) and over the subsequent 4 years. Over the course of puberty, CHO quality changed little: added sugar intake from beverages increased in girls (0·25 (se 0·12) % energy (% E)/year, P = 0·04) and added sugar intake from sweets decreased in both sexes (boys: - 0·22 (se 0·11) % E/year, P = 0·049; girls: - 0·20 (se 0·10) % E/year, P = 0·04). For both sexes, significant upward secular trends were observed for CHO (% E), glycaemic load (g/MJ) and added sugar intakes from sources other than sweets and soft drinks (% E), while absolute fibre intake (g/d) decreased (P ≤ 0·04). Concomitant increases in total added sugar intake (% E) and decreases in fibre and whole-grain densities (g/MJ) (P = 0·001-0·02) were confined to boys only. The quality of dietary CHO consumed by healthy German adolescents shows notable secular declines, but does not change markedly during puberty. Public health initiatives should be tailored to improve the overall quality of CHO nutrition.