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.
© 2013 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2013 International Association for the Study of Obesity.