Sugar-sweetened beverage intake promotes weight gain in children, adults

06 Mar 2023
Sugar-sweetened beverage intake promotes weight gain in children, adults

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may lead to higher body mass index (BMI) and body weight in both children and adults, as shown in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The research team searched the databases of Medline, Embase, and Cochrane through 8 September 2022 for prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing SSB intake in relation to BMI and body weight in children and adults, respectively.

Subsequently, the researchers compared eligible interventions with a noncaloric control. They pooled study-level estimates using random-effects meta-analysis, presented as β-coefficients with 95 percent confidence intervals (CIs) for cohorts and weighted mean differences (MDs) for RCTs.

Eighty-five articles, including 48 in children (40 cohorts: n=91,713; eight RCTs: n=2,783) and 37 in adults (21 cohorts: n=448,661; 16 RCTs: n=1,343), were eligible for analysis.

In cohort studies, each serving/day increase in SSB consumption resulted in a 0.07-kg/m2 (95 percent CI, 0.04‒0.10) higher BMI in children and a 0.42-kg (95 percent CI, 0.26‒0.58) higher body weight in adults.

In RCTs, SSB reduction interventions were associated with less BMI gain in children compared with controls (MD, ‒0.21 kg/m2, 95 percent CI, ‒0.40 to ‒0.01). In adults, the addition of SSBs to the diet contributed to greater body weight gain (MD, 0.83 kg, 95 percent CI, 0.47‒1.19), while removal of SSBs from the diet resulted in weight loss (MD, ‒0.49, 95 percent CI, ‒0.66 to ‒0.32) relative to controls.

Notably, SSB consumptions showed a positive linear dose‒response association with weight gain in all outcomes assessed.

These findings underscore the importance of dietary guidance and public policy strategies to limit intake, according to the researchers. 

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