Are sugar-sweetened beverages harmful?
H Wu and JP
Chanoine Endocrinology and Diabetes Unit, British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, Vancouver BC V6H 3V4
- Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are a significant source of calories in youth
- Some but not all studies show an association between SSB consumption and increased bodyweight
- Potential mechanisms explaining the adverse effects of SSBs include excess calories, inappropriate compensation mechanisms and type of carbohydrate (fructose)
- Interventional studies aimed at decreasing SSB intake show positive but modest effects on body mass/composition in youth
- The effect of voluntary measures by beverage companies such as better label information or actions such as SSB taxation by regulatory authorities need to be evaluated
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