Research shows sugary drinks do not cause weight gain

Aug 11, 2010

New research from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, shows that sugary drinks, consumed in moderate quantities, do not promote weight gain, carbohydrate craving or adverse mood effects in overweight women when they do not know what they are drinking.

The study, 'Effects of sucrose drinks on macronutrient intake, body weight, and mood state in overweight women over 4 weeks', which was conducted by Marie Reid, Richard Hammersley and colleagues set out to determine the long-term effects of adding a sucrose drink to the diet of overweight women ( 25-30, aged 20 - 55), on dietary intake and mood. The results show that overweight women do not suffer adverse effects, such as or mood fluctuation, if they do not know whether or not they are drinking a or artificially sweetened drink. Instead women took in fewer calories elsewhere in the diet, to balance the calories in the drinks.

In a single-blind, between-subjects design, (4 x 25cl per day; 1800 kJ sucrose sweetened versus 67 kJ aspartame sweetened) were added to the diet of overweight women (n = 53, BMI 25 - 30, age 20 - 55) for 4 weeks. Participants were split into two groups and at the beginning of each week subjects took away 28 bottles of an unidentified drink for that week (4 per day). One group received sucrose (n = 24), the other aspartame (n = 29).

Subjects were instructed to consume the specified amount (25cl) each day at specified times (11:00, 14:00, 18:00, 20:00) and to rate their mood directly after the drink in their 7 day diary. Throughout the 5 week study (week 0 baseline, weeks 1 - 4 experimental), participants were also instructed to eat, drink and exercise as usual. At screening and each subsequent week thereafter, subjects' food diaries were checked and biometric data were obtained.

Mean daily energy intake at baseline (week 0) was 9126.36 kJ (SD 306.28), so the added drinks comprised some 20% of daily energy intake (1,800 kJ). Throughout the study, it was found that the mean increase in energy intake of those taking sucrose drinks between baseline week and week 1 was only 0.5 MJ, and by week 4 participants were consuming no more energy than at baseline. Across both groups it was found that some women in both groups lost, or gained weight, but it was found that there was no consistent trend for sucrose to influence this.

These findings suggest that because it is widely believed that are bad and part of an unhealthy diet, people then go on to behave accordingly. The primary causes of any negative effects of sugar on food choices and mood, may be psychological, and Prof Marie Reid, Professor of Applied Psychology at Queen Margaret University concludes: "Widespread publicity about the supposed harmful effects of sugar may make such effects more likely, as believing sugar to be harmful may encourage negative emotions after eating sugary food and lead to the abstinence violation effect. In other words, knowing that you're drinking sugary drinks, while believing that they're harmful, might result in the derailing of a generally healthy low-fat diet".

"Sugar in moderation plays a neutral role in the balanced diet, but an emotionally charged role in the psychology of food choice," she added.

The new research is published in the August issue of the journal Appetite, and replicates a previous study conducted by Reid in 2007, with normal weight women. The results substantiate those of the earlier study and show that women reduced their voluntary energy intake when the sucrose drinks were added to the diet. By the final week of the study, women had reduced their total energy intake back to baseline levels.

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Provided by The Sugar Bureau

1.9 /5 (11 votes)

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User comments : 29

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mrlewish
5 / 5 (4) Aug 11, 2010
Sure, I'm going to trust a study "Provided by The Sugar Bureau"

Bias Bias Bias. Study can be ignored.
BaldNerd
4 / 5 (1) Aug 11, 2010
Time to fire up a Marlboro and slam a 20 oz. Mountain Dew. The Sugar Bureau indeed.
PieRSquare
5 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2010
Interesting but I'm not going to take the advice of "The Sugar Bureau" without a grain of salt. Oh wait, I can't have that either...
Raygunner
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
And published in "Appetite", a recognized, impartial science journal - NOT. I wonder how much the Sugar Bureau paid Physorg to add this to their web site? I love this site but my confidence and trust has dropped a LOT with this article! If it was under "paid advertisements" I would be okay with it. If this shows up on Science Daily then I know it's a scam!
JimB135
4.5 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2010
This made me snort with laughter. At least they are honest with the name. The Sugar Bureau -- "Sugar is what we do"

Here in in the USA this doesn't really matter since the soft drink industry has pretty much switched to the use of high fructose corn syrup for sweetening.
The corn associations say there is no problem with HFCS either.
complexChemicals
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
This research has a large flaw:
"11:00, 14:00, 18:00, 20:00" are the times drinks were consumed.

How unrealistic can you get? How about once a day the subject drinks 2-3 times the beverage amount and see what kind of mood swings and other effects happen.

They have made this sugar intake regular, allowing the body to adjust to the cycle.

Lame.
Raygunner
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
complexChem - they tested this way to get the results they wanted. Also, 53 overweight test subjects, artificial vs. normal (drastic taste difference, even the body can tell and adjust), and a limited 4 week study. Sounds like a bunch of amateur wanna-be scientists cooking up a study to tailor results for the Sugar Bureau
sstritt
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
Advocacy Science is an oxymoron!
Donutz
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
Saaayyyyy.... I can't help but notice a certain level of skepticism here........ :-)
el_chief
5 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2010
Why are they looking at sucrose? Fructose, particularly HFCS is the problem.

I can't even remember the last time I saw sucrose listed on a drink ingredient list.
freethinking
1 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2010
OK who to trust, the food police and progressives who want us to eat only organically grown, locally produced, vegitarian food without extra salt, sugar, or the food industry which want to make as much money as possible?

How about neither. Eat what you want, and take responsiblity for your action.

Sugar is not bad for you in moderation. But consume a lot, it will be bad. My kids don't drink pop often, when they do, they split a can, or if we are at Cosco, I fill the cup fully with ice first.
Xaero
1 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2010
Effects of sucrose drinks on macronutrient intake, body weight, and mood state in overweight women over 4 weeks
...how these results are relevant to normal population? Is the time period used sufficiently representative? Wasn't the purpose of the study to prove zero effect at the very end?
Caliban
2.2 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2010
1. Very small test group.
2. No controls beyond baseline metrics.
3. Very short duration.
4. Very limited scope.
5. Self-reporting of subjective "mood".
6. No inclusion of HFCS, used almost exclusively as
the sweetener of softdrinks.
7. Aspartame/Sucrose taste difference
clearly identifiable to the test subjects.

HFCS and Aspartame are known to be harmful, and continuing research tends to indicate increasingly so. Excepting people with diabetes, Sugar(sucrose) in moderation, as freethinking just pointed out, isn't harmful.

I think that the Sugar Bureau went to considerable lengths to muddy their own waters. What a bunch of morons.
DamienS
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2010
HFCS and Aspartame are known to be harmful

HFCS certainly is a problem due to its use in just about everything, however the same cannot be said of Aspartame. As far as I know, no peer reviewed studies have shown Aspartame to be 'harmful'.
Caliban
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 11, 2010
HFCS and Aspartame are known to be harmful

HFCS certainly is a problem due to its use in just about everything, however the same cannot be said of Aspartame. As far as I know, no peer reviewed studies have shown Aspartame to be 'harmful'.


I note your use of the term "peer-reviewed".
Having said that, the evidence for its adverse health effects is overwhelming, and of the "open secret" variety.

Nor is it by any means the only poison that we are knowingly and legally exposed to daily.

It has been dogged by controversy and allegations of conflict of interest since its discovery, and it is well known that its approval by FDA was by no means a slam-dunk, and only occurred as the result of deal-cutting and rank-pulling, none of which would have been necessary had the compound been harmless as you imply.

Shareholder?
Ethelred
3 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2010
Having said that, the evidence for its adverse health effects is overwhelming, and of the "open secret" variety.
What evidence? As in real tests and peer review to check for bias. Such as your bias. And the ludicrous level of bias in this article.

Aspartame MAY be bad for you. I personally haven't noticed a problem. I HAVE noticed problems with sucrolose.

Its a protein. Is there ANY evidence that it gets out of the digestive tract as anything other then amino acids. Unsupported claims of politics really don't impress me.

The claims against fructose at least make some sense. The claims against aspartame I have seen have been nebulous or questionable. For instance it is supposed to induce headaches according to some claims. I would notice that if it happened to me. If a small percentage of the population does get headaches it wouldn't surprise me but I figure those that have that problem can stop buying the stuff.

Ethelred
DamienS
5 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2010
@Caliban,
So you got nothing but hearsay?
Ethelred
Aug 12, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Scryer
3 / 5 (2) Aug 12, 2010
More misinformation, this stuff shouldn't be posted on Physorg.com, or anywhere for that matter.

The Sugar Bureau is anything but motivated by the betterment of the human race - It says it right in their name, they only care about sugar, and trying to get the masses to buy it. Trying to use Pseudo-Science to get their product sold, what a low blow to true science.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Aug 12, 2010
I thought this was a science website. I myself am not a scientist i am an average jo who is interested in such things. Yet lately between poorly worded articles and biassed articles like this i am now wondering if i should go elsewhere for some science news?
freethinking
2 / 5 (2) Aug 12, 2010
sugar subsitutes harmful, I very much doubt it. Again everything in moderation. That said, I much rather have my kids drink sugar than sugar subsitute, but they don't drink much pop. I myself drink diet pop because I watch my weight carefully. I'm not scared of either sugar, or sugar substitute, and I don't think anyone should, as long as each is consumed in moderation.
Caliban
1 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2010
@DamienS, Ethelred,

It's not a question of the assay not being made:

http://ehp03.nieh...4-000379

You tell me if that doesn't indicate something amiss. Peer reviewed.

http://www.holist...t.html#1

Take a little while, and look this over. Also the source for the link above. Credible research is not entirely lacking.

Caliban
1 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2010
Here's the main web page:

http://www.holist...partame/

More comprehensive than second link^.
Scryer
4 / 5 (4) Aug 13, 2010
Physorg.com is still a great place to get information about current science and information. So, fluke articles like this are not something to get antsy about.
DamienS
4 / 5 (3) Aug 13, 2010
Here's the main web page:
http://www.holist...partame/
More comprehensive than second link^.

Is this your idea of a joke? As one reviewer commented: "If you are looking for facts I suggest skipping this 'urban legend' site and go straight to the source".

There's a reason why I asked for peer reviewed research published in reputable journals.
Caliban
1.5 / 5 (2) Aug 13, 2010
Here's the main web page:
http://www.holist...partame/
More comprehensive than second link^.

Is this your idea of a joke? As one reviewer commented: "If you are looking for facts I suggest skipping this 'urban legend' site and go straight to the source".

There's a reason why I asked for peer reviewed research published in reputable journals.


I spect you were a little overhasty, DS, did you check the first link I posted? I thought not. I understand that you may feel some reservation regarding the website as a whole, but, at the same time, careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
DamienS
5 / 5 (2) Aug 13, 2010
Caliban, you posted a bunch of links and I checked one out. If you think it lends credibility to your 'argument' to reference a scaremongering woo site peddling 'holistic' healing, detox treatments and the evils of amalgam fillings, then there is really nothing more to discuss.
bottomlesssoul
not rated yet Aug 15, 2010
It makes sense and fits in well with what I've read elsewhere. The food by itself is not addictive, it mostly begins with behaviors meaning it starts in our heads. It becomes addictive when BMI rises above 35 or so because at that point the body begins to lose it's ability to regulate appetite.

Our default behaviors are just not evolved to deal with this. For me I found it best to avoid completely, not because it's bad but because I realized I can't handle it. I did the same for alcohol.

It's great if you can limit yourself to 1 a month like we did for the previous 50,000 years. I can't so I only taste it by delightful accident, like we did 50,000 years ago.
jsa09
not rated yet Aug 16, 2010
Instead women took in fewer calories elsewhere in the diet, to balance the calories in the drinks.


This is the problem already. The study was supposedly done with overweight women. How did they get there? It was not from being careful with what they ate - that is for sure.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Aug 16, 2010
Here's the main web page:
http://www.holist...partame/
More comprehensive than second link^.

Is this your idea of a joke? As one reviewer commented: "If you are looking for facts I suggest skipping this 'urban legend' site and go straight to the source".

There's a reason why I asked for peer reviewed research published in reputable journals.


And that's why I provided one. Look at the first link. I note that you've studiously avoided doing so to this point.

Of course, you don't have to pay any attention to any evidence to the contrary- it is, after all, your body, and you are free to poison it in any way you see fit.

You will, of course, forgive me for not agreeing with your assessment of "safety".