Sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks in association to restrained, external and emotional eating

K Elfhag, P Tynelius, F Rasmussen
Physiology & Behavior 2007 June 8, 91 (2-3): 191-5
We studied sugar-sweetened soft drinks and light soft drinks in their associations to psychological constructs of eating behavior and demographic data for adults and children. Soft drink intakes were assessed by consumption of soft drinks in number of days the last week, and eating behavior was measured by the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ). The sample included 3265 men and women, and their 12-year old children, originating from Swedish national databases. Associations to younger age and lower education in adults were in particular apparent for sugar-sweetened soft drinks. Consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks was further associated to less restrained and more external eating in adults. In contrast, light soft drinks were associated with higher BMI, more restrained eating and also more emotional eating in adults. For the children these associations were generally weaker. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are consumed by persons with a lower education, who furthermore are less prone to attempt to restrict their calorie intake, and by some of those who are sensitive to external stimuli of foods. Light soft drinks are rather chosen by the more heavy persons who try to restrict their energy intake perhaps in order to control the body weight, and more unexpectedly, by adults who eat for comfort. Being more sensitive to an external stimulus of food such as taste seems to imply proneness to consume sugar-sweetened soft drinks instead of the light versions. Light soft drinks may be perceived as an adequate substitute in the use of foods for comfort, meaning the sweet taste may be sufficient for this purpose.


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