What is the relationship between milk and sugar-sweetened beverages intake and body mass index of adolescents?

Research with references from medical literature related to the consumption of non-alcoholic sugar-sweetened beverages and milk as associated with body mass index in adolescents showed no consensus between the 30 studies evaluated and a lack of national articles on the subject.

There is no consensus in the literature regarding the association between consumption of milk and non-alcoholic sugar-sweetened beverages – including soft drinks and sweetened juices – and body mass index (BMI) in adolescents, in addition to the lack of national articles on this topic (AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION, 2015; LUDWIG; PETERSON; GORTMAKER, 2001; MALIK; SCHULZE; HU, 2006).

Researchers from Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei (UFSJ), in Divinópolis (MG), came to this conclusion after evaluating 30 national and international articles related to the consumption of non-alcoholic sugary drinks and milk and its relation to BMI in adolescents. The article “Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, milk and its association with body mass index adolescence: a systematic review” was published in Revista Paulista de Pediatria (v. 36, n.1).

The search for articles was conducted in databases PubMed and VHL (Virtual Health Library). Studies were selected with filters “aged between 10 and 19 years”, written in Portuguese and English, published between 2011 and 2015. Among the 20 articles addressing sugar-sweetened drinks in general, 55% found an association between their consumption and increased BMI. All studies addressing soft drinks were related to BMI elevation. As to milk, only one article showed an association between its consumption and increased BMI. Three articles mentioned milk consumption as high-BMI protection factor, while three studies found no such association.

Studies looking at soft drinks and sugary beverages in general were assessed, having included ultra-processed sweetened juices such as powdered juice and even canned juice, which is popularly believed to be a healthy substitute for soft drinks. Our systematized evaluation of articles allowed us to analyze, reflect, and discuss in a clear and accessible way the pattern of sugar-sweetened drinks and milk consumption by young people and its impact on nutritional status, especially in the occurrence or protection of obesity, as the authors of the research explain.

It is imperative that public policies aimed at reducing the consumption of sugary beverages are adopted, especially in children’s environments, so as to promote health and prevent certain diseases that are occurring earlier and earlier in young people, the researchers warn.

CAFE, Ana Carolina Corrêa et al. Consumo de bebidas açucaradas, leite e sua associação com o índice de massa corporal na adolescência: uma revisão sistemática. Rev. paul. pediatr., v. 36, n. 1, p. 91-99, 2018. ISSN: 0103-0582 [cited Mar 2, 2018]. DOI: 10.1590/1984-0462/;2018;36;1;00010. Available from: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_abstract&pid=S0103-05822018000100091&lng=pt&nrm=iso&tlng=pt

  1. Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:274-88.
  2. American Heart Association [homepage on internet]. Sugar-sweetened beverages initiatives can help fight childhood obesity. [cited 2015 Nov 6. Available from: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_462756.pdf.
  3. Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet. 2001;357:505-8.

Contato: Ana Carolina Corrêa, Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei (UFSJ), Divinópolis, MG, Brazil. Email: anacarolinacorreacafe@gmail.com.br

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