Plain Water and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in Relation to Energy and Nutrient Intake at Full-Service Restaurants

Nutrients. 2016 May 4;8(5):263. doi: 10.3390/nu8050263.


Background: Drinking plain water, such as tap or bottled water, provides hydration and satiety without adding calories. We examined plain water and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in relation to energy and nutrient intake at full-service restaurants.

Methods: Data came from the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, comprising a nationally-representative sample of 2900 adults who reported full-service restaurant consumption in 24-h dietary recalls. Linear regressions were performed to examine the differences in daily energy and nutrient intake at full-service restaurants by plain water and SSB consumption status, adjusting for individual characteristics and sampling design.

Results: Over 18% of U.S. adults had full-service restaurant consumption on any given day. Among full-service restaurant consumers, 16.7% consumed SSBs, 2.6% consumed plain water but no SSBs, and the remaining 80.7% consumed neither beverage at the restaurant. Compared to onsite SSB consumption, plain water but no SSB consumption was associated with reduced daily total energy intake at full-service restaurants by 443.4 kcal, added sugar intake by 58.2 g, saturated fat intake by 4.4 g, and sodium intake by 616.8 mg, respectively.

Conclusion: Replacing SSBs with plain water consumption could be an effective strategy to balance energy/nutrient intake and prevent overconsumption at full-service restaurant setting.

Keywords: 24-h dietary recall; added sugar; diet quality; energy intake; full-service restaurant; plain water; saturated fat; sodium; sugar-sweetened beverage.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beverages*
  • Carbohydrates / chemistry
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Restaurants*
  • Sweetening Agents / chemistry*
  • Water*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbohydrates
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Water