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Trends Suggest the World’s Beverage Consumption is Getting Sweeter

Previous previous studies have linked foods with added caloric sweeteners to a higher risk of weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. A new report has found that the world’s diet is getting sweeter, particularly when it comes to beverages. This could have adverse effects on the health of the global population.

The report was written by Professor Barry M. Popkin, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Corinna Hawkes from City University London in the UK. Their research shows that 68% of packaged foods and beverages in the US contain caloric sweeteners, 74% include both caloric and low-calorie sweeteners, and only 5% are made from low-calorie sweeteners only.

The authors analyzed nutritional datasets from around the world and found a trend towards increased sales of sugar-sweetened beverages as well as increases in terms of calories sold per person per day and volume sold per person per day. They noted that consumption was rising fastest in low and middle-income countries located in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania.

The highest consumption was in Latin America, North America, Australasia, and Western Europe. They noted, however, that they were starting to see declines in consumptions in the latter three regions.

The authors also found that government interventions such as higher taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages had a positive effect of reducing consumption.

This Personal View paper was published online ahead of print on December 1, 2015 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Previous studies suggest that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is playing a role in the obesity epidemic in the US. Obesity increases the risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and osteoarthritis.

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