Added sugar intake is associated with weight gain and risk of developing obesity over 30 years: The CARDIA study

Emily J. Endy, So Yun Yi, Brian T. Steffen, James M. Shikany, David R. Jacobs, Rae K. Goins, Lyn M. Steffen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Numerous prospective studies have examined sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) intake associated with weight gain or incident obesity. Because SSB accounts for only 33 % of added sugar (AS) intake, we investigated the associations of AS intake with change in weight and waist circumference and risk of developing obesity. Methods and results: At baseline (1985–86) Black and White women and men, aged 18–30 years, enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study and were followed for 30 years (2015–16). A diet history assessed dietary intake 3 times over 20 years. Multivariable linear regression evaluated the associations of change in weight (n = 3306) and waist circumference (n = 3296) across quartiles of AS, adjusting for demographics, lifestyle factors, and anthropometrics. Proportional hazards regression analysis evaluated the associations of time-varying cumulative AS intake with risk of incident obesity (n = 4023) and abdominal obesity (n = 3449), adjusting for the same factors. Over 30 years of follow-up, greater AS intake was associated with gaining 2.3 kg more weight (ptrend = 0.01) and 2.2 cm greater change in waist circumference (ptrend = 0.005) as well as increased risk of incident obesity (HR 1.28; 95 % CI: 1.08–1.53) and incident abdominal obesity (HR 1.27; 95 % CI:1.02–1.60). Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with recommendations from the 2020–2025 U S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans to limit daily AS intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-474
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Added sugar
  • Cohort study
  • Epidemiology
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • obesity
  • weight gain

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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