Foods and beverages associated with higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;44(4):351-357. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.036.


Background: Although consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with higher caloric intakes, the amount SSBs contribute to higher intakes has not been addressed.

Purpose: To estimate the amount SSBs contribute to higher caloric intakes and determine how the diets of SSB consumers and nonconsumers differ.

Methods: The What We Eat In America, NHANES 2003-2010 surveys were combined into a sample of 13,421 children; analyses were conducted in December 2012. To determine the contribution of SSBs to higher caloric intakes, total non-SSB intake (food + non-SSB beverages) of SSB consumers and nonconsumers were compared using linear regression models controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors. Analyses also compared intakes between nonconsumers and SSB consumers with different amounts of SSB consumption.

Results: For children aged 2-5 years and 6-11 years, total non-SSB intakes did not differ between nonconsumers and SSB consumers at any level of SSB consumption, indicating that SSBs were primarily responsible for the higher caloric intakes among SSB consumers. A similar finding was observed among children aged 12-18 years; however, both food and SSB contributed to higher caloric intakes of adolescents consuming ≥500 kcal of SSBs. Among those aged 12-18 years, higher intakes of foods (e.g., pizza, burgers, fried potatoes, and savory snacks) and lower intakes of non-SSB beverages (e.g., fluid milk and fruit juice) were associated with increased SSB intake.

Conclusions: Sugar-sweetened beverages are primarily responsible for the higher caloric intakes of SSB consumers, and SSB consumption is associated with intake of a select number of food and beverage groups, some of which are often unhealthy (e.g., pizza and grain-based desserts).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Beverages*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Sweetening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • United States


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Sweetening Agents