Epidemiological data have demonstrated an association between sugar intake in beverages and overweight. Cross-sectional studies are the most common but rather limited, and a lot of points are still a matter of debate. Results of intervention trials are more promising, although they remain quite rare; they provide the best arguments to infer causality. This overview is limited to the analysis of the putative impact of sugar inclusion in beverages on health, obesity, and diabetes risk. Mechanisms of action and physiological end points are highlighted to clarify the differences existing in the health impact of various kinds of sugars. When considering weight changes and obesity-related questions related to sugar-sweetened beverages consumption, it is important to take into account population differences and genetic parameters. Lifestyle influences (eg, other components of the diet and physical activity) must also be considered in the studies.
Max Lafontan, PhD, is director of research, Unité Inserm 858, Institut de Médecine Moléculaire de Rangueil, and Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.
The author is not receiving any funding for research investigations from Danone Waters but has received consulting fees from a paid advisory board for the review.
Dr Lafontan has received speaker and consultancy honorarium from Danone Waters R&D.
Correspondence: Max Lafontan, PhD, Unité Inserm 858, Institut de Médecine Moléculaire de Rangueil, 1 Avenue Jean Poulhès, BP84225, 31432 Toulouse cedex 04, France (email@example.com).