Sugar Sweetened Beverages Linked To Overall Unhealthy Diet

Louise Brunkwall Nutritionist, MPH and Phd-student Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Genetic Epidemiology Lund University, Clinical Sciences Malmö, Sweden Interview with:
Louise Brunkwall
Nutritionist, MPH and Phd-student
Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Genetic Epidemiology
Lund University, Clinical Sciences
Malmö, Sweden

 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There has been a huge interest for sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) the last years and SSB has been associated with various diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity, while juice for example which have approximately the same amount of energy have not. We find this very interesting and wanted to know more about who the people were that consumed a lot of these different beverages. We started of by looking at diet and found that the different beverages were associated with different dietary patterns. Sugar sweetened beverages were associated with a more unhealthy diet while juice was associated with a more healthy diet. We see the same for tea which is a beverage previously associated with a lower risk of several diseases, that it is associated with an overall very healthy diet. Therefore we draw the conclusions that beverages are a part of the overall diet which might contribute to the previous findings of associations with different diseases. This also tells us that it is of great importance to know more about the overall diet than just consumption of a single product when investigating beverages-dieases association studies.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The most important thing is that you should be careful when interpreting studies that have looked at a single product and the association with a disease because that single product is a part of an overall diet which may also be important for the association. Secondly our study suggest that if you only change or take away the beverage lets say sugar sweetened beverages you will not get as good of a results as if you would to change or improve the overall diet.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: – Our study highlight the need for good dietary data when studying food-disease associations. We will never be able to adjust for the overall diet, however it is of importance to have the knowledge about the overall diet and the total energy intake in the populations, in which you are studying the associations, to be able to interpret your results.


EASD 2015

Overall dietary characteristics of individuals with high consumption of beverages previously associated with risk of type 2 diabetes L. Brunkwall, S. Hellstrand, M. Orho-Melander, U. Ericson; Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Genetic Epidemiology, Lund University, Clinical Sciences, Malmö, Sweden.

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Louise Brunkwall (2015). Sugar Sweetened Beverages Linked To Overall Unhealthy Diet