Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is associated with abdominal fat partitioning in healthy adults

J Nutr. 2014 Aug;144(8):1283-90. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.188599. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Abdominal adiposity, particularly visceral adipose tissue (VAT), is independently linked to the pathogenesis of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Emerging evidence suggests that greater intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) may be associated with abnormal fat accumulation in VAT. We examined whether habitual SSB consumption and diet soda intakes are differentially associated with deposition of body fat. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using previously collected data in 2596 middle-aged adults (1306 men and 1290 women) from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring and Third Generation cohorts. VAT and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were measured using multidetector computed tomography. Habitual intake of SSBs and diet soda was assessed by a validated food frequency questionnaire. We observed that SSB consumption was positively associated with VAT after adjustment for SAT and other potential confounders (P-trend < 0.001). We observed an inverse association between SSB consumption and SAT (P-trend = 0.04) that persisted after additional adjustment for VAT (P-trend < 0.001). Higher SSB consumption was positively associated with the VAT-to-SAT ratio (P-trend < 0.001). No significant association was found between diet soda consumption and either VAT or the VAT-to-SAT ratio, but diet soda was positively associated with SAT (P-trend < 0.001). Daily consumers of SSBs had a 10% higher absolute VAT volume and a 15% greater VAT-to-SAT ratio compared with nonconsumers, whereas consumption of diet soda was not associated with either volume or distribution of VAT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Sweeteners / administration & dosage*
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / metabolism*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Carbohydrates
  • Nutritive Sweeteners