Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption impairs glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes inflammation in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):479-85. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013540. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Male
  • Particle Size
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01021969