Sugar and low/no-calorie-sweetened beverage consumption and associations with body weight and waist circumference changes in five European cohort studies: the SWEET project

Marion E.C. Buso, Elske M. Brouwer-Brolsma, Novita D. Naomi, Joy Ngo, Sabita S. Soedamah-Muthu, Christina Mavrogianni, Joanne A. Harrold, Jason C.G. Halford, Anne Raben, Johanna M. Geleijnse, Yannis Manios, Luis Serra-Majem, Edith J.M. Feskens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Results of prospective studies investigating associations between low/no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS) and body weight-related outcomes are inconclusive. We conducted dose–response and theoretical replacement individual patient data meta-analyses using harmonised prospective data to evaluate associations between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, low/no-calorie sweetened beverage (LNCB) consumption, and changes in body weight and waist circumference. Methods: Individual participant data were obtained from five European studies, i.e., Lifelines Cohort Study, NQplus study, Alpha Omega Cohort, Predimed-Plus study, and Feel4diabetes study, including 82,719 adults aged 18–89 with follow-up between 1 and 9 years. Consumption of SSB and LNCB was assessed using food-frequency questionnaires. Multiple regression analyses adjusting for major confounders and including substitution models were conducted to quantify associations in individual cohorts; random-effects meta-analyses were performed to pool individual estimates. Results: Overall, pooled results showed weak adverse associations between SSB consumption and changes in body weight (+ 0.02 kg/y, 95%CI 0.00; 0.04) and waist circumference (+ 0.03 cm/y, 95%CI 0.01; 0.05). LNCB consumption was associated with higher weight gain (+ 0.06 kg/y, 95%CI 0.04; 0.08) but not with waist circumference. No clear associations were observed for any theoretical replacements, i.e., LNCB or water for SSB or water for LNCB. Conclusion: In conclusion, this analysis of five European studies found a weak positive association between SSB consumption and weight and waist change, whilst LNCB consumption was associated with weight change only. Theoretical substitutions did not show any clear association. Thus, the benefit of LNCBs as an alternative to SSBs remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2905-2918
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Volume62
Issue number7
Early online date5 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Adults
  • Cohort studies
  • Non-nutritive sweeteners
  • Sugars
  • Weight gain

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