TOS Recommends Reduced Consumption of SSBs as a Strategy to Reduce Total Daily Caloric Intake

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April 23, 2014



Mollie Turner, Director of Communications,


The Obesity Society Recommends Children Minimize Consumption of SSBs


SILVER SPRING, MD – In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) recommends reduced consumption of SSBs as a strategy to reduce total daily caloric intake. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, the TOS position statement unveiled today provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their SSB consumption.


“There’s no arguing with the fact that the high rates of obesity in the U.S. are troubling for our nation’s health, specifically the recently reported rise in severe obesity among children in JAMA Pediatrics,” said TOS spokesperson Diana Thomas, PhD, Professor at Montclair State University and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research. “We recommend reducing overall calorie intake to achieve healthy weight goals. Reducing SSB consumption may help some individuals in that effort."


According to the position statement posted online, TOS defines SSBs as sodas, sports drinks and other types of beverages that are primarily made up of water and added sugar. Consumption of these drinks in the U.S. remains high - Americans report that SSBs comprise 6-7% of overall calorie intake.1


“Despite the challenges researchers have faced with isolating the impact of specific foods or beverages on body weight, the studies conducted on SSBs thus far have generated important and meaningful data leading to our conclusion,” said Dr. Thomas. “The evidence shows that individuals with a higher BMI consume more SSBs than their leaner counterparts, and that decreasing SSB consumption may reduce overall calorie intake and help individuals with obesity or overweight reach healthy weight goals.”


Weight gain occurs when total energy intake exceeds energy expenditure for extended periods of time. Because SSBs are a non-nutritious source of calories, decreasing and even eliminating them from the diet offers an excellent opportunity to reduce total energy intake. As a healthy alternative to SSBs, TOS reinforces the need for individuals to consume more water, a readily accessible, calorie-free source.


“Our efforts to help improve the food choices and environment for Americans certainly don’t stop here,” said Steven R. Smith, MD, TOS President. “More research is needed to better understand the relationship between SSB reduction and weight loss in adults, as well as the relationship between all energy-dense foods and weight.”


TOS recognizes that weight gain is a problem for many individuals that rises beyond both calories consumed and any singular calorie source.


“We encourage policymakers, scientists, clinicians and the public to further explore the total caloric density of foods, including all foods high in added sugar, in an effort to provide more science-based nutritional insight and develop healthier food and beverage options to support America’s health,” continued Dr. Smith. “We look forward to serving as a continued resource for science-based information in this area.”


For more information read the full position statement here.


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About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information visit:


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