Purpose of review: It is widely accepted that sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are implicated in weight gain and adverse cardiometabolic heath. To make informed recommendations about SSB, new evidence needs to be considered against existing literature. The present review will provide an update on the epidemiological and trial evidence linking intake of SSB to cardiometabolic outcomes.
Recent findings: The weight of the evidence from prospective cohort studies supports a strong positive association between intake of SSB and weight gain and risk type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD) that is independent of adiposity. Associations with stroke are less clear and suggestive of greater risk in women than men. Findings from short-term trials of SSB and markers of cardiometabolic risk including lipids, glucose, blood pressure, and inflammatory cytokines provide mechanistic support for associations with T2D and CHD. Putative underlying mechanisms include adverse glycemic effects and increased hepatic metabolism of fructose.
Summary: Conclusive evidence from epidemiological studies and trials on markers of cardiometabolic risk support an etiologic role of SSB in relation to weight gain and risk of T2D and CHD that is independent of weight. Continued efforts to reduce intake of SSB should be encouraged to improve the cardiometabolic health of individuals and populations.