Consumption of sugars and body weight

M.A. van Baak*, A. Astrup

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The role of dietary sugars in the current obesity epidemic is much debated and opposing views can be found in the lay as well as scientific literature. Here we have reviewed the recent scientific literature on consumption of sugars and body weight. Main focus was on three questions: (i) What is the evidence that intake of dietary sugars is associated with higher body weight than intake of non-sugar carbohydrates? (ii) What is the evidence that sugars in liquid form are associated with higher body weight than sugars in solid form? (iii) What is the evidence that diets with a low glycaemic index (GI) or glycaemic load (GL) are associated with lower body weight than diets high in GI or GL? We conclude that (i) there is insufficient evidence that an exchange of sugar for non-sugar carbohydrates in the context of a reduced-fat ad libitum diet or energy-restricted diet results in lower body weights; (ii) observational studies suggest a possible relationship between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and body weight, but there is currently insufficient supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials of sufficient size and duration; (iii) at this moment there is insufficient evidence to support a difference between liquid and solid sugar intake in body-weight control and (iv) there is some, although not consistent, evidence for a lower body weight on diets with a lower GL, but the effect is likely to be small. There is currently no convincing evidence for a role of GI independent of GL.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-23
    JournalObesity Reviews
    Issue numberSuppl 1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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