Adults consuming high amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to eat from food groups perceived as unhealthy, whereas those who consume more juice and tea are more likely to intake food groups perceived as healthy, according to study findings presented at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting.
“[Sugar-sweetened beverages] are strongly associated with the overall diet, and it is therefore important to be aware of the overall diet when investigating beverage–disease associations to be able to interpret the results,” Louise Brunkwall, MPH, a PhD student at Lund University in Malmö, Sweden, told Endocrine Today.
Brunkwall and colleagues analyzed data from 25,112 adults aged 45 to 74 years (60% women; mean BMI, 25.6 kg/m2) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer from the population-based Swedish Malmö Diet and Cancer Cohort, surveyed between 1991 and 1996. Participants completed a 7-day food diary, a 168-item food frequency questionnaire and a 45- to 60-minute in-person interview, measuring the intake of beverages, macronutrients and 24 food groups. Researchers divided beverage consumption into five intake levels; they used linear regression to analyze food intake across those five levels, adjusting for age, sex, season, BMI, physical activity level, total energy intake, education, and smoking and alcohol consumption.
Researchers found that participants who reported a high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages also reported a significantly lower intake of foods perceived as healthy when compared with adults who reported the lowest intake of sugar-sweetened beverages; the largest differences were seen with fruits, vegetables, yogurt, breakfast cereals, fiber-rich bread and fish.
Adults who reported a high consumption of both tea and juice, however, also consumed more foods perceived as healthy; the largest differences were seen for fruits, vegetables and yogurt. The highest consumers of juice, for example, had a 16% increase in consumption of fruits when compared with adults who reported consuming little to no juice, Brunkwall said, whereas those who reported consuming the most sugar-sweetened beverages also consumed about 15% fewer fruits in their overall diet.
Participants who reported a high consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (diet sodas) also reported consuming more low-fat foods, including low-fat milk and margarine, the researchers noted, whereas those who reported a high consumption of coffee also reported high intakes of meat and high-fat margarine and a lower intake of breakfast cereals.
“Future research would need detailed dietary data so that we can look at the overall diet and interpret our results in a better way,” Brunkwall said. “When investigating future beverage or single-food association studies, it will be of great importance to have a deep knowledge about the overall food intake in the specific population.” – by Regina Schaffer
Brunkwall S, et al. Abstract 190. Presented at: 51st EASD Annual Meeting; Sept. 14-18, 2015; Stockholm.
Disclosure: Brunkwall reports no relevant financial disclosures.