Sugar-sweetened beverages consumption is associated with worse cognitive functions in older adults: from the national health and nutrition examination survey and food patterns equivalents database

Nutr Neurosci. 2023 Oct;26(10):1011-1018. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2022.2115242. Epub 2022 Sep 5.


Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the association between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) consumption (including individual SSB) and cognitive function from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) and whether it is age-dependent.Methods: Older adults aged 60 years old and over were included during the NHANES 2011-2014. SSB consumption was defined as the amount of added sugar obtained by connecting the NHANES and FPED. Cognitive function tests included the consortium to establish a registry for Alzheimer's disease test, Animal Fluency Test and Digit Symbol Substitution Test. We calculated z-score using the average of the total standardized scores on three cognitive tests to estimate the level of whole cognition. Multi-variable linear regression models and interaction analysis were conducted in this study.Results: For individual SSB types, increased carbonated soft drinks, sweetened tea, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and sport drinks were all significantly linked to declined cognitive function (P < 0.05), respectively. Nevertheless, interaction effects by age groups were not significant (P for interaction > 0.05).Discussion: SSB consumption (including individual SSB) was negatively associated with cognitive function, which was not age-dependent. Future studies may advance the knowledge in the field considering the association between SSB consumption and cognitive function.

Keywords: Sugar-sweetened beverages; aging; cognition; diet; epidemiology; individual sugar-sweetened beverages; interaction; public health.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Cognition
  • Energy Drinks*
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages* / adverse effects