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Using doubly labeled water to validate associations between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and body mass among White and African-American adults



Evidence is mixed regarding sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake and adiposity among adults, perhaps because of reporting bias.


The objective of this study is to determine the impact of reporting bias on any associations between increased SSB intake and overweight/obesity.


Beverage intake and overweight/obese status (body mass index 25 kg m−2) were examined among adults from a dietary assessment and doubly labeled water study (n=250). Four web-based, 24-h recalls assessed dietary intake. SSB intake was categorized as no intake, 1–99 kcals per day and >99 kcals per day. Logistic regression models adjusted for total caloric intake, age, race, education and diet quality compared SSB intake with overweight/obese status. To investigate dietary self-reporting bias, analyses were replicated in a subset of ‘true reporters’: those with self-reported total caloric intake within 25% of total energy expenditure per doubly labeled water assessments (n=108).


One-half of participants were overweight/obese; more overweight/obese participants consumed SSB than normal-weight participants (69% vs 47%; P<0.001). Intake of other beverages did not differ by adiposity. Less number of White participants (48%) consumed SSB compared with African-American participants (68%; P=0.002). Compared with no intake, SSB intake up to the median intake doubled the risk of being overweight/obese (odds ratio: 2.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.0–4.3; P=0.046) and SSB intake over the median more than doubled the risk (odds ratio: 2.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.2–6.0; P=0.018). When limited to true reporters, SSB intake significantly increased the risk of being overweight/obese by nearly fourfold.


Underreporting of SSB intake may be attenuating true associations of SSB intake and the risk of being overweight/obese.

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This project was funded by the National Institutes of Health grant R01CA105048 and a T32 training grant 3T3236GM084896-0251 under the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to J A Emond.

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Emond, J., Patterson, R., Jardack, P. et al. Using doubly labeled water to validate associations between sugar-sweetened beverage intake and body mass among White and African-American adults. Int J Obes 38, 603–609 (2014).

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  • sugar-sweetened beverages
  • African American
  • high-fructose corn syrup


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