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
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
"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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about childhood