Calorie-sweetened beverages and fructose: what have we learned 10 years later

Pediatr Obes. 2013 Aug;8(4):242-8. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00171.x. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Background: Sugar-sweetened drinks and the fructose they provide are associated with several health problems.

Methods: Data from the Nielsen Homescan and product content were analysed for sweetener type using the Gladson Nutrition Database. Meta-analyses and randomized clinical trials were used to evaluate outcomes of beverage and fructose intake.

Results: Over 70% of all foods contain some amounts of added sugar, and consumption of soft drinks has increased fivefold since 1950. Meta-analyses suggest that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is related to the risk of diabetes, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in adults and in children. Drinking two sugar-sweetened beverages per day for 6 months induced features of the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver. Randomized, controlled trials in children and adults lasting from 6 months to 2 years have shown that lowering the intake of soft drinks reduced weight gain. Genetic factors influence the weight gain when drinking soft drinks.

Conclusion: Consumption of calorie-sweetened beverages and the fructose they contain has continued to increase and may play a role in the epidemic of obesity, the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. Reducing intake of soft drinks is associated with less weight gain and metabolic improvement as well.

Keywords: Fructose; health risks; randomized clinical trials; sugar.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology*
  • Fructose / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fructose