Food and Behaviour Research

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Consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages is associated with higher total energy and sugar intake among children, NHANES 2011-2016

Sylvetsky AC, Figueroa J, Zimmerman T, Swithers SE, Welsh JA (2019) Pediatr Obes.  2019 May:e12535.  doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12535. [Epub ahead of print] 

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To examine associations between consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages (LCSBs), sugar, and total energy intake in children in the United States.


We used 24-hour dietary recalls from 7026 children enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011 to 2016 to assess energy and macronutrient intake among LCSB (≥4 oz LCSB, <4 oz SB), SB (≥4 oz SB, <4 oz LCSB), and LCSB + SB consumers (≥4 oz each) compared with water consumers (≥4 oz water, <4 oz LCSB and SBs). Sample weights and complex survey procedures were used for all analyses.


Adjusting for body mass index (BMI) percentile, LCSB, SB, and LCSB + SB consumption was associated with 196, 312, and 450 more total calories and 15, 39, and 46 more calories from added sugar, respectively, compared with water consumers (P < .05 for all pairwise comparisons). No differences in energy intake were observed between LCSB and SB consumers.


These findings challenge the utility of LCSB for weight management in children and adolescents.


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