Purpose of review
To discuss the current data on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption trends, evidence of the health impact, and the role of industry in efforts to reduce the consumption.
Previously rising SSB consumption rates have declined recently, but continue to contribute added sugars beyond the limit advised by the American Heart Association. A recent meta-analysis concluded that SSBs likely increase body weight and recent long-term studies support the previous findings of increased risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Beverage companies have played an active role in some SSB reduction efforts by reducing the sale of SSBs in schools, limiting television advertising to children, and increasing the availability of smaller portion-size options. Industry has opposed efforts to restrict the availability of large portion sizes and implement an excise tax. Current industry efforts include the promotion of alternative beverages perceived to be healthier as well as SSBs through Internet and social media.
Continuing high SSB consumption and associated health risks highlight the need for further public health action. The beverage industry has supported some efforts to reduce the consumption of full sugar beverages, but has actively opposed others. The impact of industry efforts to promote beverage alternatives perceived as healthier is unknown.