Background: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have unfavorable effects on glucose and lipid metabolism if consumed in high quantities by obese subjects, but the effect of lower doses in normal-weight subjects is less clear.
Objective: The aim was to investigate the effects of SSBs consumed in small to moderate quantities for 3 wk on LDL particle distribution and on other parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism as well as on inflammatory markers in healthy young men.
Design: Twenty-nine subjects were studied in a prospective, randomized, controlled crossover trial. Six 3-wk interventions were assigned in random order as follows: 600 mL SSBs containing 1)40 g fructose/d [medium fructose (MF)], 2) 80 g fructose/d [high fructose (HF)], 3) 40 g glucose/d [medium glucose (MG)], 4) 80 g glucose/d [high glucose (HG)], 5) 80 g sucrose/d [high sucrose (HS)], or 6) dietary advice to consume low amounts of fructose. Outcome parameters were measured at baseline and after each intervention.
Results: LDL particle size was reduced after HF by -0.51 nm (95% CI: -0.19, -0.82 nm) and after HS by -0.43 nm (95% CI: -0.12, -0.74; P < 0.05 for both). Similarly, a more atherogenic LDL subclass distribution was seen when fructose-containing SSBs were consumed (MF, HF, and HS: P < 0.05). Fasting glucose and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) increased significantly after all interventions (by 4-9% and 60-109%, respectively; P < 0.05); leptin increased during interventions with SSBs containing glucose only (MG and HG: P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The present data show potentially harmful effects of low to moderate consumption of SSBs on markers of cardiovascular risk such as LDL particles, fasting glucose, and hs-CRP within just 3 wk in healthy young men, which is of particular significance for young consumers. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01021969.