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January 21, 2009

Nutritively Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Obesity: The Need for Solid Evidence on a Fluid Issue

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Biostatistics and Clinical Nutrition Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham (Dr Allison); Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Dr Mattes).

JAMA. 2009;301(3):318-320. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.974

The prevalence of obesity has increased substantially in the past several decades, and clinicians, policy makers, and others seek tools to abate this epidemic. One tantalizingly simple solution is to identify a single class of foods for which the elimination or radical reduction would meaningfully decrease the energy intake/expenditure ratio and obesity prevalence. Nutritively sweetened beverages (NSBs) (eg, sugar-sweetened beverages, soft drinks) seem to have become a leading contender, and the surrounding dialogue has become contentious, evoking scientific, clinical, and sociopolitical questions.