Background/Objectives: Artificial sweeteners are used widely to replace caloric sugar as one of the strategies to lessen caloric intake. However, the association between the risk of obesity and artificially sweetened soda consumption is controversial. The objective of this meta-analysis aimed to assess the association between consumption of sugar and artificially sweetened soda and obesity. Methods: A literature search was performed using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from inception through May 2015. Studies that reported relative risks, odd ratios, or hazard ratios comparing the risk of obesity in patients consuming either sugar or artificially sweetened soda vs. those who did not consume soda were included. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) and 95% CI were calculated using a random-effect, generic inverse variance method. Results: Eleven studies were included in our analysis to assess the association between consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and obesity. The pooled RR of obesity in patients consuming sugar-sweetened soda was 1.18 (95% CI, 1.10-1.27). Three studies were included to assess the association between consumption of artificially sweetened soda and obesity. The pooled RR of obesity in patients consuming artificially sweetened soda was 1.59 (95% CI, 1.22-2.08). Conclusions: Our study demonstrated a significant association between sugar and artificially sweetened soda consumption and obesity. This finding raises awareness and question of negative clinical impact on both sugar and artificially sweetened soda and the risk of obesity.
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