Sugar and energy content of carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages in Haidian District, Beijing: a cross-sectional study

The consumption of carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages (CSSBs) is associated with a range of health problems, but little is known about the sugar and energy content of CSSBs in China. The study aimed to investigate the sugar and energy content of CSSBs in Beijing, China. A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 15 different supermarkets from July to October 2017 in Haidian District, Beijing. The product packaging and nutrient labels of CSSBs were recorded by a snapshot in time to obtain company name, product name, serving size, and nutrient content, that is, carbohydrate, sugar and energy. For CSSB labels not showing sugar content, the authors used carbohydrate content as substitute. The sugar and energy content of CSSBs within each type of flavour were compared using Kruskal-Wallis test. The sugar content within the recommended levels was described using frequency. The sugar and energy content of top 5 CSSBs were compared in terms of sales among three countries (China, UK and USA). A total of 93 CSSB products were found. The median sugar content was 9.3 (IQR: 5.7-11.2)?g/100?mL, and the energy content was 38 (IQR: 23-46) kcal/100?mL. There were 79 products labelled ‘Red’ (high) per serving based on the criteria set in the UK (>11.25?g/100?mL). We found 62.4% of CSSBs had sugar content per serving that exceeds the daily free sugar intake for adults (25?g) recommended by the WHO. Some of the branded products sold in China had higher sugar content when they were compared with those in Western countries. CSSBs in Beijing, China have high sugar and energy content. Reduction in sugar content and serving size of CSSBs and taxation policy on beverages will be beneficial in reducing sugar intake in China.

Authors: Lin L, Li C, Jin C, Peng Y, Hashem KM, MacGregor GA, He FJ, Wang H. ; Full Source: BMJ Open. 2018 Aug 13;8(8): e022048. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022048.