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Bone. 2008 May;42(5):960-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2008.01.020. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

The effect of feeding different sugar-sweetened beverages to growing female Sprague-Dawley rats on bone mass and strength.

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Human Nutrition and Foods, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.


Consumption of sugar beverages has increased among adolescents. Additionally, the replacement of sucrose with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as the predominant sweetener has resulted in higher fructose intake. Few studies have investigated the effect of drinking different sugar-sweetened beverages on bone, despite suggestions that sugar consumption negatively impacts mineral balance. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of drinking different sugar-sweetened beverages on bone mass and strength. Adolescent (age 35d) female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned (n=8-9/group) to consume deionized distilled water (ddH2O, control) or ddH2O containing 13% w/v glucose, sucrose, fructose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS-55) for 8weeks. Tibia and femur measurements included bone morphometry, bone turnover markers, determination of bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and bone strength by three-point bending test. The effect of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption on mineral balance, urinary and fecal calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) was measured by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. The results showed no difference in the bone mass or strength of rats drinking the glucose-sweetened beverage despite their having the lowest food intake, but the highest beverage and caloric consumption. Only in comparisons among the rats provided sugar-sweetened beverage were femur and tibia BMD lower in rats drinking the glucose-sweetened beverage. Differences in bone and mineral measurements appeared most pronounced between rats drinking glucose versus fructose-sweetened beverages. Rats provided the glucose-sweetened beverage had reduced femur and tibia total P, reduced P and Ca intake and increased urinary Ca excretion compared to the rats provided the fructose-sweetened beverage. The results suggested that glucose rather than fructose exerted more deleterious effects on mineral balance and bone.

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