Habitual intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages associated with gut microbiota related metabolites and metabolic health outcomes in young Chinese adults

Published:November 03, 2022DOI:
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      • Associations between SSBs, plasma gut microbiota–host co-metabolites that may reflect gut microbiota functionality, and metabolic health outcomes were demonstrated in young Chinese adults.
      • Two biological pathways closely related to gut microbiota, i.e. the branched-chain amino acids catabolism and aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, were enriched to link SSBs intake with metabolic health outcomes.


      Background and Aims

      Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is a global public health priority due to their limited nutritional value and associations with increased risk of obesity and metabolic diseases. Gut microbiota-related metabolites emerged as quintessential effectors that may mediate impacts of dietary exposures on the modulation of host commensal microbiome and physiological status.

      Methods and Results

      This study assessed associations between SSBs, circulating microbial metabolites and gut microbiota–host co-metabolites, as well as metabolic health outcomes in young Chinese adults (n=86) from the Carbohydrate Alternatives and Metabolic Phenotypes study in Shaanxi Province. Five principal component analysis-derived beverage drinking patterns were determined on self-reported intakes of SSBs, which were to a varying degree associated with 143 plasma levels of gut microbiota related metabolites profiled by untargeted metabolomics. Moreover, carbonated beverages, fruit juice, energy drinks, and bubble tea exhibited positive associations with obesity related markers and blood lipids, which were further validated in an independent cohort of 16,851 participants from the Regional Ethnic Cohort Study in Northwest China in Shaanxi Province. On the contrary, presweetened coffee was negatively associated with the obesity related traits. A total of 79 metabolites associated with both SSBs and metabolic markers, in particular, obesity markers. Pathway enrichment analysis identified the branched-chain amino acids catabolism and aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis as linking SSB intake with metabolic health outcomes.


      Our findings demonstrate associations between habitual intake of SSBs and several metabolic markers relevant to non-communicable diseases, and highlight the critical involvement of gut microbiota-related metabolites in mediating such associations.


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