Gut microbiota composition in relation to intake of added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages and artificially sweetened beverages in the Malmö Offspring Study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Ramne, Stina
  • Louise Brunkwall
  • Ulrika Ericson
  • Nicola Gray
  • Gunter G.C. Kuhnle
  • Peter M. Nilsson
  • Marju Orho-Melander
  • Emily Sonestedt

Purpose: It has been suggested that a high intake of sugar or sweeteners may result in an unfavorable microbiota composition; however, evidence is lacking. Hence, in this exploratory epidemiological study, we aim to examine if intake of added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) associate with the gut microbiota composition. Methods: Participants (18–70 years) in the Malmö Offspring Study have provided blood, urine, and fecal samples and completed both web-based 4 day food records and short food frequency questionnaires. The gut microbiota was assessed by 16S rRNA sequencing, processed in QIIME and matched to Greengenes (v.13.8), giving 64 included genera after filtering. Intake of added sugar (n = 1371) (also supported by the overnight urinary sugar biomarker in a subgroup n = 577), SSBs (n = 1086) and ASBs (n = 1085) were examined as exposures in negative binomial regressions. Results: Various genera nominally associated with intake of added sugar, SSBs, and ASBs. Only the negative association between SSB intake and Lachnobacterium remained significant after multiple testing correction. A positive association between SSB intake and the Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratio was also observed. Conclusion: In this wide population, the cross-sectional associations between added sugar and sweet beverage intake and the gut microbiota are modest, but the results suggest that SSB intake is associated negatively with the genus Lachnobacterium and positively with the Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes ratio. Larger studies, preferably using metagenomic sequencing, are needed to further evaluate if a link exists between intake of sugars and sweeteners and the human gut microbiota.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2087-2097
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by Lund University. This study was funded by the Swedish Research Council (2016-01501); the Heart and Lung Foundation (2016-0267, 2019-0555); and the Albert Påhlsson Foundation. The MOS was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (521-2013-2756, 2013-210, 2014-366, 2018-02784); the Heart and Lung Foundation (2015-0427, 2013-0598, 2017-0523); the Region Skåne County Council; the European Research Council (ERC-CoG-2014-649021); the EFSD Lilly Award 2014 (2015-338); the Swedish Diabetes Foundation (DIA 2018-358); and the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF17OC0027348, NNF18OC0034386). We also acknowledge the support provided by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (IRC15-0067). Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Added sugar, Artificially sweetened beverages, Gut microbiota, Sugar-sweetened beverages, Urinary sugars biomarker

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