Last Nail in the Coffin for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Now Let's Focus on the Hard Part

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc


Circulation. 2019;139(18):2126-2128. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake has consistently been associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, hypertension and excess body weight, and potentially frailty.[1–3] To date, no clear and independent benefits of consuming SSB have been identified within the context of our current global food landscape. In this issue of Circulation, we are provided with robust prospective data from 2 cohorts, the NHS (Nurses' Health study) and HPFS (Health Professional's Follow-Up study), demonstrating that SSB intake, in a graded dose-dependent manner, was positively associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality but not consistently with cancer mortality.[4] In contrast to consistent data for SSB intake, results from prior studies testing associations of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) with a range of health outcomes have been mixed.[5,6] The associations between ASB intake and CVD and all-cause mortality in the NHS and HPFS were significant only at the highest level and for women only.[4] As cautioned by the authors, these findings related to ASB await confirmation. How should the findings from this important new study be interpreted?