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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Nutrition Bytes

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Volume 17, Issue 1, 2013


Excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium in children and adolescents

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium-rich foods are increasingly becoming commonplace in the diets of American children and adolescents. Aside from the well-characterized health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes, these foods pose direct risks in terms of increasing the likelihood of dental caries, elevated uric acid, and hypertension in children and adolescents as well as displacing foods necessary to healthy growth and development. The following two-part review examines consumption of sweetened beverages and sodium-rich foods in relationship to associations with immediate and long-term health effects, describes population subgroups that are especially susceptible, and proposes policy and individual-level prevention strategies.

Can Calcium Make you Skinny?

To assess the association between calcium intake and anthropomorphic measurements such as BMI and weight, a literature search was conducted to identify human clinical trials that compared calcium intake with body mass index (BMI) and related measures such as weight and percent body fat. Forty-four studies were identified. Of those, 12 were human experimental studies that met the criteria for inclusion in the final analysis. 5, 18-23, 25-27, 32, 35 Although observational studies uniformly propose an inverse correlation between calcium intake and weight, the clinical data fail to support these reports. Most clinical trials indicate no correlation, while several report a positive correlation. In the clinical trials, calcium intakes in control groups ranged from approximately 390-1000mg/d with the median intake being approximately 683mg/d. Intakes for calcium-supplemented groups ranged from approximately 942-1256 mg/d with the median being approximately 1176mg/d. The weight change in control groups ranged from a loss of 6.4 kg to a gain of 7.2 kg over the course of the respective trials, with the median weight change being a gain of 1 kg. The weight change in calcium-supplemented groups ranged from a loss of 10.6 kg to a gain of 6.4 kg over the course of the respective trials with the median weight change being a gain of 1.6 kg. Thus, most groups experienced weight gain in response to calcium-supplementation as opposed to the expected weight loss.