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Influence of an intervention targeting a reduction in sugary beverage intake on the δ13C sugar intake biomarker in a predominantly obese, health-disparate sample

  • Brenda M Davy (a1), A Hope Jahren (a2), Valisa E Hedrick (a1), Wen You (a3) and Jamie M Zoellner (a1)...

Controversy exists surrounding the health effects of added sugar (AS) and sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intakes, primarily due to a reliance on self-reported dietary intake. The purpose of the current investigation was to determine if a 6-month intervention targeting reduced SSB intake would impact δ13C AS intake biomarker values.


A randomized controlled intervention trial. At baseline and at 6 months, participants underwent assessments of anthropometrics and dietary intake. Fasting fingerstick blood samples were obtained and analysed for δ13C value using natural abundance stable isotope MS. Statistical analysis included descriptive statistics, correlational analyses and multilevel mixed-effects linear regression analysis using an intention-to-treat approach.


Rural Southwest Virginia, USA.


Adults aged ≥18 years who consumed ≥200 kcal SSB/d (≥837 kJ/d) were randomly assigned to either the intervention (n 155) or a matched-contact group (n 146). Participants (mean age 42·1 (sd 13·4) years) were primarily female and overweight (21·5 %) or obese (57·0 %).


A significant group by time difference in δ13C value was detected (P<0·001), with mean (sd) δ13C value decreasing in the intervention group (pre: −18·92 (0·65) ‰, post: −18·97 (0·65) ‰) and no change in the comparison group (pre: −18·94 (0·72) ‰, post: −18·92 (0·73) ‰). Significant group differences in weight and BMI change were also detected. Changes in biomarker δ13C values were consistent with changes in self-reported AS and SSB intakes.


The δ13C sugar intake biomarker assessed using fingerstick blood samples shows promise as an objective indicator of AS and SSB intakes which could be feasibly included in community-based research trials.

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22. WCWillett & ELenart (1998) Reproducibility and validity of food-frequency questionnaires. In Nutritional Epidemiology, 2nd ed., pp. 101147 [WC Willett, editor]. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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