Is sugar-sweetened beverage consumption associated with body fatness and bone health in young adults?

Bennett AM, Murray K, Ambrosini GL, Oddy WH, Walsh JP, Zhu K. 8 Feb 2022 J Nutr; 152(2):399-407. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab389.

Publication date: 8 Feb 2022

Keywords: bone mineral content, fat body mass, sugar-sweetened beverage, The Raine Study, young adults

What is already known about this subject:

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) are any non-nutritive drinks with added sugar. They have been associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity and may have a negative impact on bone health due to their high sugar, caffeine and phosphorus content.
  • Australian adolescents have higher consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) than other age groups, but little is known of the impact of SSB intake during adolescence on body composition and bone mass in early adulthood. The majority of previous studies assessing the relationship between SSB intake and overweight or obesity in children and adolescents used body mass index (BMI) and/or waist circumference as the main outcome variables, and the relationship between SSB intake during adolescence and peak bone mass achieved at skeletal maturity have not been studied.
  • The aim of the present study was to investigate associations of SSB intake at 14, 17 and 20 years of age with body composition and bone mass at 20 years of age in Gen2 Raine study participants.

What this study adds

  • In 1137 offspring (Gen2) from the Raine Study, food intake, including SSB consumption in serves/day, was estimated using food frequency questionnaires at 14, 17 and 20 years of age. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning at 20 years measured whole body fat mass, lean mass and bone mineral content (BMC). We found that males consuming above 1.3 serves/day of SSB at 17 and 20 years had on average 2.5 - 4.8 kg (14 - 28%) more fat mass at 20 years than those had lower intakes. Additionally, females with SSB intake above 1.3 serves/day at 14 years had on average 2.4 kg (9%) more fat mass at 20 years of age than those who consumed less. These associations remained significant after adjustment for demographic, energy intake and maternal factors, and in males after accounting for “Healthy” and “Western” dietary patterns for 20 years SSB intake. Conversely, no significant associations were found between consumption of SSB and BMI, total body lean mass or bone mass.
  • Our results show that higher intakes of SSB during adolescence and early adulthood are associated with increased fat body mass at 20 years, especially in males. Reducing SSB intake in adolescence may help to prevent long term consequences resulting from increased fat mass in young adulthood.
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Areas of Interest