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13 March 2013

Sweet drinks often lead to fatty food intake

Children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages consume more kilojoules than other children and the beverages are the main reason for that higher kilojoule intake, a new study reveals.

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Children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages consume more kilojoules than other children and the beverages are the main reason for that higher kilojoule intake, a new study reveals.

In addition, children who drink sugar-sweetened beverages eat more unhealthy foods than other children, the researchers found.

Evidence shows that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages - which include sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks - has risen in the past 20 years.

How the study was done

For the study, researchers analysed data from nearly 11 000 US children, aged two to 18, who were included in national surveys between 2003 and 2010.

During this time, children's consumption of food and sugar-sweetened beverages increased, while they drank fewer non-sweetened beverages.

Further analysis revealed that sugar-sweetened beverages were the primary cause of the increased calorie intake seen among children aged two to 11.

Both food and sugar-sweetened beverages contributed to increased kilojoule intake among children aged 12 to 18, according to the report scheduled for publication.

 "Among all age groups analysed, the energy density (kilojoules per gram) of food consumed increased with higher sugar-sweetened beverage intake," lead investigator Kevin Mathias, of the department of nutrition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a journal news release.

He said the findings suggest that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with consumption of foods with high levels of kilojoules.

"This is concerning because many foods that are associated with higher sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (e.g., pizza, cakes/cookies/pies, fried potatoes, and sweets) are also top sources of solid fats and added sugars; components of the diet that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends Americans should limit," Mathias said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about childhood nutrition.

 
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