In recent decades, temporal patterns in SSB intake have shown a close parallel between the upsurge in obesity and rising levels of SSB consumption. SSBs are beverages that contain added caloric sweeteners such as sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup or fruit-juice concentrates, all of which result in similar metabolic effects. They include the full spectrum of soft drinks, carbonated soft drinks, fruitades, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy and vitamin water drinks, sweetened iced tea, cordial, squashes, and lemonade, which collectively are the largest contributor to added sugar intake in the US. It has long been suspected that SSBs have an etiologic role in the obesity epidemic, however only recently have large epidemiological studies been able to quantify the relationship between SSB consumption and long-term weight gain, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Experimental studies have provided important insight into potential underlying biological mechanisms. It is thought that SSBs contribute to weight gain in part by incomplete compensation for energy at subsequent meals following intake of liquid calories. They may also increase risk of T2DM and CVD as a contributor to a high dietary glycemic load leading to inflammation, insulin resistance and impaired beta-cell function. Additional metabolic effects from the fructose fraction of these beverages may also promote accumulation of visceral adiposity, and increased hepatic de novo lipogenesis, and hypertension due to hyperuricemia. Consumption of SSBs should therefore be replaced by healthy alternatives such as water, to reduce risk of obesity and chronic diseases.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.