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Correlation Between Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain

Tamir Greenberger
April 23, 2013

All these studies find associations between soft drinks and weight gain, but controlled studies will show that beverage consumption has nothing to do with actual weight gain from a physiological point of view.

I did the research for your reading pleasure to see that as a population, we are clearly failing at portion control.

1. Childhood Obesity
A review of several studies concludes that there is a clear association between childhood obesity and consumption of soft drinks.

An analysis of children and adolescents finds that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water works to reduce total daily calories, thus preventing weight gain.

2. Increased Risk for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)
A prospective cohort analysis of hundreds of thousands of young and middle-aged women observed that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with T2D. The authors acknowledge that these results may in fact be due to the excess caloric intake from sugars.

An analysis of a prospective cohort study of over 40,000 men concluded that sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with a significantly elevated risk for T2D. Replacing one serving of such beverage with a cup of coffee was associated with a 17% reduced risk.

A prospective cohort study of over 40,000 Chinese men and women found a significant association between frequent intake of soft drinks and juice with development of T2D.

3. Replacing Sweetened Beverages with Water Promotes Weight Loss
An analysis of 118 overweight women had results which showed that drinking water helps to reduce total energy intake. This leads to a more effective weight-loss strategy.

A crossover-designed study observed that intake of caloric beverages leads to a significant increase in total caloric consumption at lunch. Replacing such beverages with non-caloric ones would prevent this increase.

4. Hunger is not Affected by Calories from Beverages: Leads to Overconsumption
A six-week study of 44 women showed that beverage consumption with a meal did not reduce calories consumed from whole food. This indicates that you would be left with extra calories from your beverage, when compared to eating the meal without a drink.

A crossover trial noticed a 17% increase in total daily energy intake from those that consumed sugar from liquids as oppose to those that got their sugars from solids. Another randomized crossover study with similar results.

5. Higher Intakes of Sweetened Beverages are Associated with Poor Dietary and Exercise Choices
A study incorporating male university students observed that frequent consumption of commercial beverages is associated with significantly higher snacking, alcohol drinking, and eating of highly-processed and delivered foods.

A recent international study concludes: “These findings, plus adverse nutrient intakes among SSB consumers, and greater sugar-BP differences for persons with higher sodium excretion lend support to recommendations that intake of SSBs, sugars, and salt be substantially reduced”

A study of about 10,000 boys and girls aged 10-19 concludes that a higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with poor dietary choices. This correlates with a higher waist circumference and body mass index.

6. Strong Correlation Between Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain
If you are still not convinced of the negative impact caloric beverages have, here is a comprehensive review which not only has references to studies that support all the above, but also many studies which demonstrate the association between caloric beverages and weight gain. If you must have your beverages, this study encourages that reduced consumption of food is important.

Finally, here is a large meta-analysis of 88 studies: “We found clear associations of soft drink intake with increased energy intake and body weight. Soft drink intake also was associated with lower intakes of milk, calcium, and other nutrients and with an increased risk of several medical problems (e.g., diabetes)… Recommendations to reduce population soft drink consumption are strongly supported by the available science.”

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