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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Jul;24(7):1410-26. doi: 10.1002/oby.21535. Epub 2016 Jun 6.

Impact of sugars and sugar taxation on body weight control: A comprehensive literature review.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
Navarra's Health Research Institute (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain.
Biomedical Research Center Network on Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn), Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition, Institute of Health Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
Osasunbidea, Servicio Navarro de Salud, Pamplona, Spain.



To conduct a comprehensive literature review in the field of added-sugar consumption on weight gain including the effect of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners and sugar taxation.


A search of three databases was conducted in the time period from the inception of the databases to August 2015. Sensitive search strategies were used in order to retrieve systematic reviews (SR) of fructose, sucrose, or sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight gain and metabolic adverse effects, conducted on humans and written in English, Spanish, or French. In addition, a review about SSB taxation and weight outcomes was conducted.


The search yielded 24 SRs about SSBs and obesity, 23 SRs on fructose or SSBs and metabolic adverse effects, and 24 studies about SSB taxation and weight control.


The majority of SRs, especially the most recent ones, with the highest quality and without any disclosed conflict of interest, suggested that the consumption of SSBs is a risk factor for obesity. The effect of fructose-containing caloric sweeteners, on weight gain is mediated by overconsumption of beverages with these sweeteners, leading to an extra provision of energy intake. The tax tool alone on added sugars appears insufficient to curb the obesity epidemic, but it needs to be included in a multicomponent structural strategy.

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