Carbohydrate content and ingredient profile of supposedly “low-carb” food products in Brazil
Article publication date: 28 November 2022
This study aims to evaluate the carbohydrate content, ingredient profile and degree of processing of supposedly “low-carb” foods in the Brazilian market.
Information was collected from physical supermarkets in Divinópolis, Minas Gerais and on websites throughout Brazil between July and September/2020. The carbohydrate content was assessed in g/100 g, and ingredient lists were investigated for the presence of carbohydrate-rich ingredients. The degree of processing of the products was evaluated by NOVA classification to determine whether the term “low carb” had been translated into Portuguese.
This study evaluated a total number of 164 products, the most frequent were bakery products (34.7%), granola and cereal bars (19.5%) and candies and desserts (14.0%). This claim was also found in low-carb foods such as cheese and chicken. Most food products evaluated (56.0%) were classified as ultra-processed, with the group having the highest carbohydrate content (20.0; 3.0–47.5g/100g), compared to products classified as processed foods (p < 0.01). The ingredient lists showed items rich in carbohydrates, such as cassava and corn derivatives. In 162 products, a low-carb claim was displayed without translation into Portuguese. These data demonstrate that most of these products are ultra-processed and have a high glycidic content.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the study was a pioneer investigation of the ingredients of “low-carb” foods, their carbohydrate composition and their degree of processing based on the NOVA classification.
We thank the project of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico – CNPq/Ministério da Saúde do Brasil (442990/2019–7).
Declaration of interest statement: None of the authors has any conflicts of interest.
Junco, R.C., Prates, S.M.S. and Anastácio, L.R. (2022), "Carbohydrate content and ingredient profile of supposedly “low-carb” food products in Brazil", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-03-2022-0103
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