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Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar;104(3):e72-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301556. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Diet-beverage consumption and caloric intake among US adults, overall and by body weight.

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  • 1Sara N. Bleich and Julia A. Wolfson are with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. Seanna Vine and Y. Claire Wang are with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY.



We examined national patterns in adult diet-beverage consumption and caloric intake by body-weight status.


We analyzed 24-hour dietary recall with National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010 data (adults aged ≥ 20 years; n = 23 965).


Overall, 11% of healthy-weight, 19% of overweight, and 22% of obese adults drink diet beverages. Total caloric intake was higher among adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) compared with diet beverages (2351 kcal/day vs 2203 kcal/day; P = .005). However, the difference was only significant for healthy-weight adults (2302 kcal/day vs 2095 kcal/day; P < .001). Among overweight and obese adults, calories from solid-food consumption were higher among adults consuming diet beverages compared with SSBs (overweight: 1965 kcal/day vs 1874 kcal/day; P = .03; obese: 2058 kcal/day vs 1897 kcal/day; P < .001). The net increase in daily solid-food consumption associated with diet-beverage consumption was 88 kilocalories for overweight and 194 kilocalories for obese adults.


Overweight and obese adults drink more diet beverages than healthy-weight adults and consume significantly more solid-food calories and a comparable total calories than overweight and obese adults who drink SSBs. Heavier US adults who drink diet beverages will need to reduce solid-food calorie consumption to lose weight.

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