Diet is one of the main modifiable risk factors in the development of many chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD). Modern diet constitutes of a high proportion of ultra-processed pre-packaged foods with high energy density and low nutritional value. Processed and ultra-processed products are often characterized by a high free sugars content; hence, many public health organizations have issued guidelines on the upper acceptable free sugar intake. The purpose of the doctoral dissertation was to determine I.) the proportion of free-sugar containing prepackaged foods on the Slovenian market, their average free sugar content, and the proportion of total sugars they represent, II.) whether free sugars content in prepackaged foods decreased between 2015 and 2017 in accordance with industrial self-regulating commitments, and III.) to access average free sugars intake and its sources among Slovenian population (aged 10-74). Within the first section of the study, we created an extensive database of pre-packaged foods and calculated the corresponding free sugar content for every food item. The results showed that more than half of all pre-packaged products on the Slovenian market contained free sugars, while sales-weighted data revealed that the most important source of free sugars among pre-packaged foods were sugar-sweetened beverages and chocolate and sweets. A comparison of free sugar content in pre-packaged foods between 2015 and 2017 showed that industry self-regulations have a very limited impact on the amount of free sugars in key food categories. During the last part of the study, findings revealed that in 2017 Slovenian children still exceeded the upper recommended daily intake of free sugars.
D.09 Tutoring for postgraduate studentsCOBISS.SI-ID: 42539267
We conducted national dietary survey Si.Menu. Results are important not only for researchers, but also for policy makers.
D.01 Chairing over/coordinating (international and national) projectsCOBISS.SI-ID: 303249152
Various studies showed promising photoprotective and anti-aging effects of lutein, but it was mostly investigated in combination with other antioxidants, and some study results are contradictory. The aim of this randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled intervention was to investigate the effects of dietary lutein supplementation on minimal erythema dose (MED) as a measure of skin’s photoprotective potential, and other skin parameters. Thirty healthy women received supplementation of lutein (20 mg/day; liquid formulation) or placebo for 12 weeks. In the test group, MED was significantly increased, indicating greater individual’s resistance to the production of erythema following UV radiation. The overall treatment effect was 0.114 J/cm2 corresponding to a relative increase of photoprotective activity of 22%. On the other hand, we were unable to confirm supportive effects for skin regeneration. Study findings show that dietary supplementation with lutein improved skin photoprotective potential and could contribute to skin defense against UVR-mediated skin damage.
F.10 Improvements to an existing technological process or technologyCOBISS.SI-ID: 41357571
Member of the programme group have been leaders of research organisations and research centres of national importance. For example: I. Eržen: Director of National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana I. Pravst: Director of Nutrition Institute, Ljubljana
D.07 Presiding over a centre/laboratory
Excessive sugar intake and the associated increased obesity risk indicate that food reformulation is needed. Non-alcoholic beverages are often high in free sugars, making reformulation with low and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS) a common choice. Our knowledge of the use of LNCS in the European food supply is, however, very limited. This study aimed to evaluate the trends in the use of LNCS in different non-alcoholic beverages in the Slovenian food supply over the course of two years. We assessed which LNCS are most used and how the use of LNCS affects energy and sugar content. We analyzed labeling information of non-alcoholic beverages in selected grocery stores, covering the majority of the Slovenian food supply. Selected grocery stores were located in the capital city (Ljubljana). LNCS were present in 13.2% and 15.5% of non-alcoholic beverages in the years 2017 and 2019, respectively. The use of LNCS has significantly increased only in energy drinks (p ( 0.01). The most used LNCS in 2017 were acesulfame K, aspartame, and cyclamates. In 2019 the use of sucralose increased significantly (p ( 0.01) to become the second most used LNCS. Energy and sugar content varied between subcategories, which depended on the presence of added sugar and LNCS. Comparison between the energy value and the presence of the LNCS showed an almost 50% lower energy content of beverages containing both added sugar and LNCS (E2017 = 92.8 kJ; E2019 = 96.2 kJ per 100 mL), compared with beverages with only added sugar (E2017 = 161.8 kJ; E2019 = 159.0 kJ per 100 mL). In beverages sweetened only with LNCS, the difference was even more noticeable (E2017 = 22.3 kJ; E2019 = 14.3 kJ per 100 mL). Results show that the use of LNCS can help producers reduce the energy value of non-alcoholic beverages. Still, compared to other countries, the offer of such products in the Slovenian food supply is relatively low. However, due to possible public health risks of excessive use of LNCS, producers should be further encouraged for reformulation and production of less sweet products without LNCS, enabling consumers to adapt to less sweet taste of beverages. Further monitoring of LNCS in the food supply is therefore recommended, preferably also with consideration of sales data.
D.01 Chairing over/coordinating (international and national) projectsCOBISS.SI-ID: 51063299