Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)—which include all drinks with added sugar, such as soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks—is strongly linked to obesity and a number of other negative health consequences. This issue brief is based on a review of the literature on this topic and examines the evidence on: 1) the health impacts of sugary beverages on children’s health (obesity, diabetes risk, dental caries, and caffeine-related effects); 2) the health impact of substituting SSBs with other drinks; and 3) the role of taste preferences in SSB consumption patterns. There is clear evidence that consumption of SSBs increases overweight and obesity risk and dental caries among children and adolescents, with emerging evidence linking SSB consumption to risk of diabetes. The vast majority of the available literature suggests that reducing SSB consumption could help improve children’s health by decreasing the risk for obesity and other negative health consequences. More research is needed related to substitution and taste preferences.

The BMC Obesity review, on which this research review and issue brief are based, is available at: https://bmcobes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40608-017-0178-9

Bleich SN, Vercammen KA. The negative impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on children’s health: an update of the literature. BMC Obesity. 2018;5(6).