*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.
A new review published in the journal Obesity Facts confirms that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with obesity and being overweight.
Research has shown that obesity is linked to a greater risk of depression, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, breathing problems and some cancers.
For the analysis, a team of European researchers looked at 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 (none of them were industry sponsored). Their findings confirm the link between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity and shed light on the importance of reducing these “empty calories.”
“The evidence base linking SSBs with obesity and overweight in children and adults has grown substantially in the past three years,” said EASO President Elect Dr. Nathalie Farpour-Lambert from the University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland.
“We were able to include 30 new studies not sponsored by the industry in this review, an average of 10 per year. This compares with a previous review that included 32 studies across the period 1990-2012.”
“This new, more recent evidence suggests that SSB consumption is positively associated with obesity in children. By combining the already published evidence with this new research, we conclude something that in many ways should already be obvious: public health policies should aim to reduce the consumption of SSBs and encourage healthy alternatives such as water. Yet to date, actions to reduce SSB consumption in many countries are limited or non-existent,” she says.
A total of 244,651 study participants were included in this new systematic review. Twenty of the studies involved children and 10 involved adults. Almost all (93 percent) of the 30 included studies in children and adults revealed a positive link between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity, while only one prospective cohort study in children showed no association.
“Numerous countries across the world have high levels of SSB consumption, and even those with low intakes are observing sharp increases,” said Dr. Maira Bes-Rastrollo from the University of Navarra, Spain, and Carlos III Institute of Health, Spain.
“Therefore, the combined evidence published before and after 2013 confirming that SSBs have adverse effects on body weight gain or obesity in children and adults provides a rationale for urgent policy action.”