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Research Updates | Consumption

Added sugar intake and mortality

08 / 04 / 19

Finding: The association between added sugar intake is U-shaped (high and low intakes are risky). When it comes to food type, sugar sweetened beverages are most associated with risk while sweet treats are not.


Sugar consumption has been associated with cardiometabolic risk factors but evidence for harmful long-term effects is lacking. This study examined the associations between added and free sugar intake, intake of different sugar sources, and mortality risk. Two cohorts were examined: the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study and the Northern Swedish Health and Disease Study, a total of 48,747 people.

Higher sugar consumption was associated with less healthy lifestyle in general. Lowest mortality risk was found with added sugar intakes between 7.5-10% of energy, while intakes above 20% were associated with 30% higher risk. Higher risk was also found at intakes less than 5% energy. Similar U-shaped association were found for cancer and CVD mortality. The intake of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) was positively associated with mortality while intake of sweet treats was inversely associated with mortality. The authors noted that treat consumption was more likely to be linked with social and cultural factors compared to SSB consumption and this may have contributed to the inverse association.


Ramne S, Alves Dias J, Gonzales-Padilla E, Olsson K et al. Association between added sugar intake and mortality is nonlinear and dependent on sugar source in 2 Swedish population-based prospective cohorts. Am J Clin Nutr 2019;109(2):411-423

Link to abstract: