WASHINGTON, DC – An analysis of 12 recent studies indicate that there is virtually no link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in children and teens. The meta-analysis is published in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"My co-authors and I carefully analyzed 12 studies using scientifically validated methods and found that there is virtually no association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and weight gain in children and teens," Dr. Maureen Storey said. "In fact, the evidence strongly suggests that reducing or eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages would have almost no impact on children and teens weight. While other investigators have reached other conclusions, our findings are consistent with three recently published review articles that concluded that the evidence that adolescent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages leads to weight gain is 'weak or equivocal.'"
Weight gain occurs when an individual consumes more calories than he or she burns – the source of the calories is irrelevant. The beverage industry is already working to educate children about the importance of calorie intake and voluntarily implemented National School Beverage Guidelines which remove full-calorie soft drinks and provide more low- and no-calorie beverage options in schools. In addition, the beverage industry supports daily physical activity and recess for students across the country.
"Sugar-sweetened beverages are a source of energy and energy consumption in excess of energy expended will lead to weight gain. Sugar-sweetened beverages should be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle," Dr. Storey said.
Dr. Storey is senior vice president for science policy for the American Beverage Association (ABA) and former director of the University of Maryland's Center for Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy.
Editor's Note: Meta analysis is a set of statistical techniques for combining information from different studies to derive an overall estimate of a scientific effect. Some studies will show a greater effect, some will show a lesser effect—perhaps not even statistically significant. Meta-analysis combines data from different studies, just as we can combine data from different individuals within a single study. Recent examples of this work in the food area include: a March 15 study of the impact of dairy products and dietary calcium on bone-mineral content in children and an April 15 systematic review reporting an association between an intake of soya protein and blood cholesterol.
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. On the Web at http://www.ameribev.org
Additional Web Resources:
All About Beverages: http://www.ameribev.org/all-about-beverage-products-manufacturing-marketing--consumption/index.aspx
ABA News and Resources: http://www.ameribev.org/news-resources/index.aspx
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition