Impact of Change in Sweetened Caloric Beverage Consumption on Energy Intake Among Children and Adolescents

This article examines the impact of sweetened drinks and other drinks with calories on the total daily caloric intake of children and adolescents. Sweetened beverages are thought to contribute to rising rates of childhood obesity in the United States.

The authors used data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to assess the beverage consumption of 3,098 children. Beverage consumption was measured by 24-hour dietary recalls on two nonconsecutive days.

Key Findings:

  • Each serving of sugar-sweetened beverages corresponded to an increase of 106 calories per day.
  • Total daily increases of 169, 145 and 123 calories per serving were observed with the consumption of whole milk, reduced-fat milk, and 100-percent juice, respectively.
  • Water and diet drinks did not contribute to an increase in total energy intake.
  • Replacing all sugar-sweetened beverages with water would result in an average reduction of 235 calories per day.

Substituting sugar-sweetened drinks with water could result in significantly lower average daily energy intake and, therefore, have the potential to help lower rates of childhood obesity.