A study published in the journal of Nutrition has outlined that reducing sugar sweetened beverage intake is reduced to higher levels of the good cholesterol and lower obesity and triglyceride levels. Previous studies have associated obesity and other risk factors in children, including dyslipidemia (for example, a high level of triglycerides and low HDL-C in the blood). Sugar sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugars in children’s diets in the U.S., accounting for as much as 10% of total energy intake (118 kcal for 6 to 11 year olds, 225 kcal for 12 to 19 year olds) in 2010.
The research participants included 613 racially and ethnically diverse Boston school children. Sixty-eight percent of the children were from low socioeconomic status (SES) households; almost half were overweight or obese; 59% were from non-white/Caucasian racial/ethnic groups. Children aged 8 to 15 years were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind vitamin D supplementation trial. The scientists used the Block Frequency Questionnaire for Children to obtain a baseline frequency for soda consumption and measured the fasting blood lipid concentrations. Longitudinal measures were collected over 12 months in 380 of these youth.
“A clustering of risk factors including high triglycerides, low HDL-C, insulin resistance, and obesity, especially if begun in childhood, puts one at higher risk for future cardiovascular disease. In this study, we sought to better understand the relationship between lipid levels and SSB consumption in a population of schoolchildren in which health disparities were likely, and where future interventions could help improve diet quality and disease risk,” said Maria Van Rompay, PhD, the first author on the study, and a research associate and instructor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
The findings reveal:
• At baseline, approximately 85% of children/adolescents reported consuming SSBs during the past week. 18% of the sample consumed 7 or more servings per week, or approximately one serving or more daily.
• Greater SSB consumption was associated with older age, late puberty/post-puberty status and lower SES. SSB intake did not differ across racial and ethnic groups.
• Several characteristics did differ by race and ethnicity: puberty status, SES, body mass index (BMI) and sedentary time, along with HDL-C and triglyceride concentrations.
• Among 613 children/adolescents at baseline, higher triglycerides were linked with higher SSB intake, after accounting for demographic and behavioral factors, BMI, total calories and measures of diet quality.
• Over the 12-month period, the mean SSB intake was not associated with lipid changes; however, the increase in HDL-C was greatest among children who decreased their intake by one or more 12-oz. servings of SSBs per week compared to those whose intake stayed the same or increased.
• Greater SSB intake was associated with lower SES, higher total calorie consumption, lower fruit/vegetable intake, and a more sedentary lifestyle.
“Importantly, not only are most SSBs high in sugar and devoid of nutritional value, but they are displacing other foods and beverages that offer high nutritional quality, which are critical for children’s growth and development, further exacerbating the potential harmful health effects of SSBs”, said Dr. Sacheck, the lead study author.
M. I. Van Rompay, N. M. McKeown, E. Goodman, M. Eliasziw, V. R. Chomitz, C. M. Gordon, C. D. Economos, J. M. Sacheck. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake Is Positively Associated with Baseline Triglyceride Concentrations, and Changes in Intake Are Inversely Associated with HDL Cholesterol Increases over 12 Months in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Children. Journal of Nutrition, 2015; DOI: 10.3945/jn.115.212662