Calorie-sweetened beverages and fructose: what have we learned 10 years later

Authors


Address for correspondence: Dr GA Bray, Pennington Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. E-mail: brayga@pbrc.edu

Summary

What is already known about this subject

  • Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.
  • Fructose from sugar (sucrose) is just as bad as from HFCS.
  • Soft Drink consumption related to risk of obesity, diabetes, and CVD in adults and children.

What this study adds

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver increased by consuming fructose in containing beverages.
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, fruit drinks and probably fruit juice may mimic metabolic syndrome.
  • Reducing intake of calorically sweetened beverages slows weight gain.

Background

Sugar-sweetened drinks and the fructose they provide are associated with several health problems.

Methods

Data from the Nielsen Homescan and product content were analysed for sweetener type using the Gladson Nutrition Database. Meta-analyses and randomized clinical trials were used to evaluate outcomes of beverage and fructose intake.

Results

Over 70% of all foods contain some amounts of added sugar, and consumption of soft drinks has increased fivefold since 1950. Meta-analyses suggest that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is related to the risk of diabetes, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in adults and in children. Drinking two sugar-sweetened beverages per day for 6 months induced features of the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver. Randomized, controlled trials in children and adults lasting from 6 months to 2 years have shown that lowering the intake of soft drinks reduced weight gain. Genetic factors influence the weight gain when drinking soft drinks.

Conclusion

Consumption of calorie-sweetened beverages and the fructose they contain has continued to increase and may play a role in the epidemic of obesity, the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. Reducing intake of soft drinks is associated with less weight gain and metabolic improvement as well.

Ancillary