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Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in the U.S.

Novel Assessment Methodology

      Background

      Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption has been linked with poor diet quality, weight gain, and increased risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Previous studies have been hampered by inconsistent definitions and a failure to capture all types of SSBs.

      Purpose

      To comprehensively examine total SSB consumption in the U.S. using an all-encompassing definition that includes beverages calorically sweetened after purchase in addition to presweetened beverages.

      Methods

      Data from the 2005–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N=17,078) were analyzed in September 2012 and used to estimate calories (kilocalories) of added sugars from SSBs and to identify top sources of SSBs.

      Results

      On average, Americans aged ≥2 years consumed 171 kcal (8% of total kcal) per day from added sugars in SSBs; the top sources were soda, fruit drinks, tea, coffee, energy/sports drinks, and flavored milks. Male adolescents (aged 12–19 years) had the highest mean intakes (293 kcal/day; 12% of total kcal).

      Conclusions

      Americans consume more calories from added sugars in beverages than previously reported. The methodology presented in this paper allows for more-comprehensive estimates than those previously used regarding the extent to which SSBs provide calories from added sugars.
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