Investigating the performance of 24-h urinary sucrose and fructose as a biomarker of total sugars intake in US participants - a controlled feeding study

Natasha Tasevska, Virag Sagi-Kiss, Susana A. Palma-Duran, Brian Barrett, Matthew Chaloux, John Commins, Diane M. O'Brien, Carol S. Johnston, Douglas Midthune, Victor Kipnis, Laurence S. Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Developing approaches for the objective assessment of sugars intake in population research is crucial for generating reliable disease risk estimates, and evidence-based dietary guidelines. Twenty-four-hour urinary sucrose and fructose (24uSF) was developed as a predictive biomarker of total sugars intake based on 3 UK feeding studies, yet its performance as a biomarker of total sugars among US participants is unknown. Objectives: To investigate the performance of 24uSF as a biomarker of sugars intake among US participants, and to characterize its use. Methods: Ninety-eight participants, aged 18-70 y, consumed their usual diet under controlled conditions of a feeding study for 15 d, and collected 8 nonconsecutive 24-h urines measured for sucrose and fructose. Results: A linear mixed model regressing log 24uSF biomarker on log total sugars intake along with other covariates explained 56% of the biomarker variance. Total sugars intake was the strongest predictor in the model (Marginal R2 = 0.52; P <0.0001), followed by sex (P = 0.0002) and log age (P = 0.002). The equation was then inverted to solve for total sugars intake, thus generating a calibrated biomarker equation. Calibration of the biomarker produced mean biomarker-based log total sugars of 4.79 (SD = 0.59), which was similar to the observed log 15-d mean total sugars intake of 4.69 (0.35). The correlation between calibrated biomarker and usual total sugars intake was 0.59 for the calibrated biomarker based on a single biomarker measurement, and 0.76 based on 4 biomarker repeats spaced far apart. Conclusions: In this controlled feeding study, total sugars intake was the main determinant of 24uSF confirming its utility as a biomarker of total sugars in this population. Next steps will include validation of stability assumptions of the biomarker calibration equation proposed here, which will allow its use as an instrument for dietary validation and measurement error correction in diet-disease association studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-730
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • 24-h urine
  • biomarker
  • diet
  • feeding study
  • fructose
  • measurement error
  • sucrose
  • total sugars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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