A new review of the latest evidence on SSBs -- that includes 30 new studies published between 2013 and 2015 -- concludes that SSB consumption is associated with overweight and obesity.
‘If you drink just one can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink every day, and not cut back on calories elsewhere, you could gain up to 5 pounds in a year.’
"The evidence base linking SSBs with obesity and overweight in children and adults has grown substantially in the past three years," said co-author Nathalie Farpour-Lambert from University Hospitals of Geneva in 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."
The review is published in the journal Obesity Facts.
Of these 30 studies included, 20 were in children -- 17 prospective and 3 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) -- and 10 were in adults -- 9 prospective and 1 RCT.
Almost all (93 per cent) of the 30 studies in children and adults revealed a positive association between SSB consumption and overweight/obesity, while only one prospective cohort study in children showed no association.
The one randomised controlled trial in adults demonstrated no effect of the intervention (replacing SSBs with water and education counselling versus education counselling only). While those adults receiving the intervention lost more weight however the result was just outside statistical significance.
"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," the researcher noted.
A total of 244,651 study participants were included in this new systematic review.
Regarding the geographical area of the studies included, 33 percent were done in Europe, 23 percent in the US, 17 percent in Middle or South America, 10 percent in Australia, 7 per cent in South Africa and the remaining 10 percent in Iran, Thailand and Japan.