Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) consumption has been linked to the reduction of bone mineral density (BMD). This study investigated the association between SSB consumption and BMD among young adults.

Bone mineral density (BMD) measures the amount of bone tissue in a given volume of bone. It has been widely examined in older adults due to osteopenia, osteoporosis and fractures caused by bone mineral loss.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to study the bone mass of young people since adulthood, and the bone mass of older adults depends on the bone mass acquired up to 30 years of age. Therefore, to prevent problems caused by bone demineralization in old age, we must know the factors that affect BMD in young people.

Various extrinsic factors influence BMD, including mechanical, physical activity, and nutritional factors. Nutritional factors include milk, milk products, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, which are associated with increased bone mass. In contrast, high consumption of foods containing caffeine, phosphates, and sodium is related to a decrease in bone mass.

A reduction in bone mineral density has also been associated with the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), a group of drinks that contain sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup. The relationship between SSB and bone mineral density has been evaluated in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Some of the beverages studied were fruit and vegetable juice or milk, which are nutritionally rich and may benefit bone mineralization. However, compared to other drinks sweetened by individuals, such as milk and fruit juices, which also contain vitamins and minerals, industrially sweetened beverages, like soft drinks, juices, and chocolate drinks, can have a greater impact on bone demineralization.

Generally, these industrially sweetened beverages contain large amounts of added sugars, making them a major source of dietary sugars. In addition to their high fructose content, these syrups contribute to bone demineralization through their metabolic and physiological mechanisms.

Methodology & Results of the Study

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional study that evaluated 6620 young people (18–23 years old) from three Brazilian birth cohorts. Using a food frequency questionnaire, the researchers determined the SSB’s daily frequency, amount and energy contribution.

In the study, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure the BMD of the total body and the lumbar spine (g/cm2). The results were analyzed using unadjusted linear regression models adjusted for sex, socioeconomic class, physical activity, smoking, drinking alcohol, and body mass index.

The association persisted after adjustment for confounders. A high frequency of SSB consumption was associated with a low lumbar spine BMD. Also, the researchers found no relationship between total body BMD or lumbar spine BMD or the amount of energy contribution of SSB.

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