Impact of sugars and sugar taxation on body weight control: A comprehensive literature review

Authors

  • Maira Bes-Rastrollo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    2. Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain
    3. Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carmen Sayon-Orea,

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    2. Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain
    3. Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
    4. Osasunbidea, Servicio Navarro de Salud, Pamplona, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Miguel Ruiz-Canela,

    1. Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    2. Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain
    3. Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Miguel A. Martinez-Gonzalez

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    2. Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain
    3. Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Funding agencies: Spanish Government-Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) (RD 06/0045, CIBERobn, PI13/00615, PI14/01668, PI14/01798, PI14/01764, and G03/140), the Navarra Regional Government (122/2014), and the University of Navarra.

  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Author contributions: MB-R and CS-O conducted the review on systematic reviews and obesity, MAM-G and MB-R conducted the review on adverse metabobolic effects associated with fructose, sucrose, and SSBs, and MBR- and MR-C conducted the review about sugar taxation on weight control. MB-R and MAM-G wrote the manuscript. All authors revised the article for intellectual content and gave their approval of the final version of the manuscript.

Abstract

Objective

To conduct a comprehensive literature review in the field of added-sugar consumption on weight gain including the effect of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners and sugar taxation.

Methods

A search of three databases was conducted in the time period from the inception of the databases to August 2015. Sensitive search strategies were used in order to retrieve systematic reviews (SR) of fructose, sucrose, or sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight gain and metabolic adverse effects, conducted on humans and written in English, Spanish, or French. In addition, a review about SSB taxation and weight outcomes was conducted.

Results

The search yielded 24 SRs about SSBs and obesity, 23 SRs on fructose or SSBs and metabolic adverse effects, and 24 studies about SSB taxation and weight control.

Conclusions

The majority of SRs, especially the most recent ones, with the highest quality and without any disclosed conflict of interest, suggested that the consumption of SSBs is a risk factor for obesity. The effect of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners, on weight gain is mediated by overconsumption of beverages with these sweeteners, leading to an extra provision of energy intake. The tax tool alone on added sugars appears insufficient to curb the obesity epidemic, but it needs to be included in a multicomponent structural strategy.

Ancillary