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Review of 30 Studies: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages cause Weight Gain

A new review of the latest evidence on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), which includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (and none of them industry sponsored), concludes that SSB consumption is associated with overweight and obesity, and that countries that have not already done so should take action to reduce the consumption of the so-called ’empty calories’ that these drinks contain.

Written by a team of researchers, the review was published in the journal Obesity Facts, a European publication. “The evidence base linking SSBs with obesity and overweight in children and adults has grown substantially in the past 3 years,” explains Dr. Farpour-Lambert. “We were able to include 30 new studies not sponsored by the industry in this review, an average of 10 per year. This is nearly four times the number of previous studies in the same time frame.

She says: “This new, more recent evidence suggests that SSB consumption is positively associated with obesity in children. By combining the already published evidence with this new research, we conclude something that in many ways should already be obvious: public health policies should aim to reduce the consumption of SSBs and encourage healthy alternatives such as water. Yet to date, actions to reduce SSB consumption in many countries are limited or non-existent.”

Almost all (93%) of the 30 studies in children and adults revealed a positive association between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity. A total of 244,651 study participants were included in Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and South America. There were even a few in Australia, South Africa and Asia.

Although the authors acknowledge it is near impossible to conclude with absolute certainty a direct cause-and-effect relationship between SSB consumption and overweight and obesity, Dr. Farpour-Lambert says: “Associations between SSBs and body weight measures might be affected by other diet and lifestyle factors, but the majority of the… studies adjusted for these possible confounding factors, and for all, except for one study, a positive association between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity was found. This suggests an independent effect of SSBs.”

Added sugars are hidden in many processed foods as well as beverages. It is time to eliminate as much of these from the diet. Purchase less processed foods and use more fresh food. Your family deserves it.

“Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 327.

Nature Knows Best!

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