Article – Sugar in ultraprocessed foods in Latin American capitals: From dentistry perspective


High sugar consumption is associated with dental caries. The objective of this study was to determine the concentrations of sugar and other nutrients in sweetened, ultraprocessed foods from Bogotá, Lima, and Quito.


A descriptive study was conducted in which information was collected on the concentration of total sugars and other nutrients from a nutrition table of ultraprocessed foods with a sweet taste from the primary chain supermarkets in Bogotá, Lima, and Quito. The groups of registered foods were non-carbonated and carbonated drinks, nectar and fruit juices, fermented dairy products, other milk-based drinks, compotes, breakfast cereals, bakery products, confectionery, desserts, dried fruits and nut candies, and flavored powder. Descriptive analyses were conducted to determine the measures of central tendency.


In the present study, information was collected on 1830 products. A median total sugar content of 11.0 (7.0–17.0) grams/portion was identified in sweetened foods from Bogotá, while the median was 10.3 (6.0–14.7) in Lima and 9.0 (5.0–15.00) in Quito. Approximately 80% of foods from Bogotá and approximately 70% of foods from Lima and Quito exceed the maximum sugar concentration established in the resolutions passed by each country, which state the parameters and ranges to determine whether food is high in sugar. In addition, most of the registered foods in this study have a nonexistent or extremely low content of fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


A high percentage of foods with high sugar concentrations were found in Bogotá, Lima, and Quito, contributing to the risk of dental caries. This highlights the importance of odontologists educating patients on the proper selection of foods.