Healthy hydration and obesity

According to WHO,16 overweight and obesity are now the fifth leading risk for global deaths: in 2008, over 500 million adults were obese.

Living a healthy lifestyle is key component of the fighting against obesity. Promoting physical activity, healthy nutrition and healthy hydration can contribute to maintaining healthy body weight.

Adopting healthy hydration habits is not only a matter of “how much to drink” but also the quality of what we drink is important.

Excessive and regular intake of beverages containing sugar increases the energy intake compared to drinking water. Studies have shown that excessive and regular sugar-sweetened beverages intake can lead to increased body weight.2-15

Whereas water is calorie free, one glass of sugar-sweetened beverage (250 mL) contains about 100 kcal. Excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can quickly exceed the World Health Organization recommendation which states that free / added sugar (from all nutrition sources) should not exceed 10% of the total calorie intake.1

There is increasing evidence that the types of the fluids we drink can have a long-term impact on health, influencing the development of overweight, obesity or metabolic diseases.

Studies have suggested that excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages increases the risk of type 2 diabetes 16-19 and it has also been shown that in adults, high consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.20-22

A sensible advice would be to recommend that the bulk of daily fluid intake should come from plain water.

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  1. WHO technical report series. Diet, Nutrition and Prevention of Chronic Diseases; Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation; Geneva 2003.
  2. Barquera S, Hernandez-Barrera L, Tolentino ML, Espinosa J, Ng SW, Rivera JA, Popkin BM. Energy intake from beverages is increasing among Mexican adolescents and adults. J Nutr. 2008;138:2454-61.
  3. Berkey CS, Rockett HR, Field AE, Gillman MW, Colditz GA Sugar-added beverages and adolescent weight change. Obes Res. 2004;12:778-88.
  4. Chen L, Appel LJ, Loria C, Lin PH, Champagne CM, Elmer PJ, Ard JD, Mitchell D, Batch BC, Svetkey LP, Caballero B. Reduction in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight loss: the PREMIER trial. Am J ClinNutr. 2009;89:1299-306.
  5. DiMeglio DP, Mattes RD. Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. Int J ObesRelatMetabDisord. 2000;24:794-800.
  6. Guerrero RT, Paulino YC, Novotny R, Murphy SP. Diet and obesity among Chamorro and Filipino adults on Guam. Asia Pac J ClinNutr.2008;17:216-22.
  7. Harnack L,Stang J, Story M. Soft drink consumption among US children and adolescents: nutritional consequences. J Am Diet Assoc.1999;99:436-41.
  8. 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.
  9. Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J ClinNutr. 2006;84:274-88.
  10. Mrdjenovic G, Levitsky DA. Nutritional and energetic consequences of sweetened drink consumption in 6- to 13-year-old children. J Pediatr.2003;142:604-10.
  11. Raben A, Vasilaras TH, Moller AC, Astrup A. Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on ad libitum food intake and body weight after 10wk of supplementation in overweight subjects. Am J ClinNutr.2002;76:721-9.
  12. Tordoff MG, Alleva AM. Effect of drinking soda sweetened with aspartameor high-fructose corn syrup on food intake and body weight. Am J ClinNutr. 1990;51:963-9.
  13. Troiano RP, Briefel RR, CarrollMD, Bialostosky K. Energy and fatintakes of children and adolescents in the United States: data from the national health and nutrition examination surveys. Am J ClinNutr2000;72:S1343-53.
  14. Van Wymelbeke V, Beridot-Therond ME, de La Gueronniere V, Fantino M. Influence of repeated consumption of beverages containing sucrose or intense sweeteners on food intake. Eur J ClinNutr. 2004;58:154-61
  15. Wang YC, Ludwig DS, Sonneville K, Gortmaker SL. Impact of change in sweetened caloric beverage consumption on energy intake among children and adolescents. Arch PediatrAdolesc Med.2009;163:336-43.
  16. World Health Organization. Obesity and Overweight. Fact sheet n°311. Available at Accessed September 2011.
  17. de Koning L, Malik VS, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverage consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in men. Am J ClinNutr. 2011;93:1321-7.
  18. Palmer JR, Boggs DA, Krishnan S, Hu FB, Singer M, Rosenberg L.Sugar-sweetened beverages and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in African American women. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168;1487-92.
  19. Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women. JAMA. 2004;292:927-34.
  20. Yoo S, Nicklas T, Baranowski T, Zakeri IF, Yang SJ, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. Comparison of dietary intakes associated with metabolic syndrome risk factors in young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Am J ClinNutr. 2004;80:841-8.
  21. Dhingra R, Sullivan L, Jacques PF, Wang TJ, Fox CS, Meigs JB, D'Agostino RB, Gaziano JM, Vasan RS. Soft drink consumption and risk of developing cardiometabolic risk factors and the metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults in the community. Circulation. 2007;116:480-8.
  22. Ventura AK,Loken E, Birch LL. Risk profiles for metabolic syndrome in a nonclinical sample of adolescent girls. Pediatrics. 2006:118:2434-42.

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