Research concludes sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to US obesity epidemic, particularly among children

by Mollie Turner
Juan Carreño de Miranda‎'s "La monstrua desnuda" (The Nude Monster) painting.

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that SSBs contribute to the United States' obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, the TOS position statement unveiled today provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.

"There's no arguing with the fact that the high rates of in the U.S. are troubling for our nation's health, specifically the recently reported rise in among children in JAMA Pediatrics," said TOS spokesperson Diana Thomas, PhD, Professor at Montclair State University and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research. "Following a thorough review and analysis of the existing research, TOS concludes that, by adding more non-nutritious calories to the American diet, SSBs have contributed to the U.S. . Further, we recommend that to maintain and improve health children minimize drinking SSBs and adults reduce or avoid SSB consumption as part of an overall strategy to reduce calories."

According to the position statement posted online, TOS defines SSBs as sodas, sports drinks and other types of beverages that are primarily made up of water and added sugar. Consumption of these drinks in the U.S. remains high - Americans report that SSBs comprise 6-7% of overall calorie intake.1

"Despite the challenges researchers have faced with isolating the impact of specific foods or beverages on body weight, the studies conducted on SSBs thus far have generated important and meaningful data leading to our conclusion," said Dr. Thomas. "The evidence shows that individuals with a higher BMI consume more SSBs than their leaner counterparts, and that decreasing SSB consumption may reduce overall calorie intake and help individuals with obesity or overweight reach healthy weight goals."

Weight gain occurs when total energy intake exceeds energy expenditure for extended periods of time. Because SSBs are a non-nutritious source of calories, decreasing and even eliminating them from the diet offers an excellent opportunity to reduce total energy intake. As a healthy alternative to SSBs, TOS reinforces the need for individuals to consume more water, a readily accessible, calorie-free source.

"Our efforts to help improve the food choices and environment for Americans certainly don't stop here," said Steven R. Smith, MD, TOS President. "More research is needed to better understand the relationship between SSB reduction and weight loss in adults, as well as the relationship between all energy-dense foods and weight."

TOS recognizes that weight gain is a problem for many individuals that rises beyond both calories consumed and any singular calorie source.

"We encourage policymakers, scientists, clinicians and the public to further explore the total caloric density of foods, including all foods high in added sugar, in an effort to provide more science-based nutritional insight and develop healthier food and beverage options to support America's health," continued Dr. Smith. "We look forward to serving as a continued resource for science-based information in this area."

More information: For more information read the full position statement here: www.obesity.org/publications/r… l-caloric-intake.htm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages

Jun 02, 2008

A recent study published in Pediatrics and led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are an increasingly large part of children and teens' diets. ...

Recommended for you

Gut bacteria promote obesity in mice

Sep 30, 2014

A species of gut bacteria called Clostridium ramosum, coupled with a high-fat diet, may cause animals to gain weight. The work is published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiol ...

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Sep 29, 2014

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples – specifically, Granny Smith apples – may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought ...

Boosting purchasing power to lower obesity rates

Sep 25, 2014

In January, as one of the first major initiatives of the Academic Vision, the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity will move to UConn from Yale University. The move will allow Rudd faculty to expand their work and build ...

Note to young men: Fat doesn't pay

Sep 23, 2014

Men who are already obese as teenagers could grow up to earn up to 18 percent less than their peers of normal weight. So says Petter Lundborg of Lund University, Paul Nystedt of Jönköping University and ...

Waistlines of US adults continue to increase

Sep 16, 2014

The prevalence of abdominal obesity and average waist circumference increased among U.S. adults from 1999 to 2012, according to a study in the September 17 issue of JAMA.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Returners
1 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2014
I've lost nearly 20lbs by switching from Root Beer(soda) to Hawaiian Punch, and changing nothing else. The Hawaiian Punch has about half the sugar, and 100% of vitamin C.

I had to quit taking multivitamins due to the calcium and copper contributing to my Neuropathy and kidney problems, but I do still take a vitamin D3 supplement due to vitamin D3 deficiency.

Anyway, overall I feel much healthier, but I still have the neuropathy problem...
Uncle Ira
1 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2014
I've lost nearly 20lbs by switching from Root Beer(soda) to Hawaiian Punch, and changing nothing else. The Hawaiian Punch has about half the sugar, and 100% of vitamin C.

I had to quit taking multivitamins due to the calcium and copper contributing to my Neuropathy and kidney problems, but I do still take a vitamin D3 supplement due to vitamin D3 deficiency.

Anyway, overall I feel much healthier, but I still have the neuropathy problem...


@ Returnering-Skippy we are so much glad that you feel the better and you didn't need to tell us you still have the neurologically problems, no. You be sure to keep us up to dated with that because we all get up in morning with wondering how it is going Cher.
Ratfish
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2014
I've lost nearly 20lbs by switching from Root Beer(soda) to Hawaiian Punch,


Try drinking water, you slob.
jahbless
not rated yet Apr 26, 2014
Pedobear says "hallow!"